Detroit Danny Duffy overthrew his catcher on an intentional walk, and Alcides Escobar struck out on a pitch that hit him in the shoulder.
This wasn’t the prettiest of games for the Kansas City Royals, but Jeff Francoeur and his teammates managed to outslug Detroit.
“You saw a lot of stuff,” Francoeur said.
Francoeur homered for his 1,000th career hit and drove in three runs, and the Royals outlasted the Tigers 11-8 Thursday to salvage a split of their four-game series. Kansas City scored four runs in both the fifth and seventh innings, batting around each time.
Johnny Giavotella hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh against Luis Marte, who was making his major league debut. Eric Hosmer added a solo shot in the eighth to make it 11-8. Hosmer also had two singles and two walks.
Francoeur opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the second, reaching his milestone in style. His first hit as a major leaguer was also a homer, back in 2005 with the Atlanta Braves.
“To do it on a home run — even more special,” he said. “My mom texted me, reminding me that my first in the big leagues was a home run and my 1,000th.”
Magglio Ordonez homered, doubled twice and stole a base for the first-place Tigers, who lead Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox by 5½ games in the AL Central. Detroit won the middle two games of the series against Kansas City with late-inning rallies and took an 8-6 lead Thursday on a two-run homer by Austin Jackson in the sixth.
Aaron Crow (4-4) allowed three runs in the sixth, his only inning of work, but was credited with the win after the Royals reclaimed the lead in the seventh. Phil Coke (2-9) came in with a man on second and one out and allowed a walk to Hosmer, an RBI double to Francoeur and an RBI single by Mike Moustakas.
Giavotella’s soft single to left off Marte put Kansas City ahead to stay. Marte was brought up from Double-A earlier in the day as part of Detroit’s expanded September roster.
“I don’t know a thing about him, so I don’t know if that’s Marte nervous or Marte at his best or Marte at his worst,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s why I went with him, because they had never seen him, and I wanted to see how he handled it. He did fine — he just got one pitch up.”
Three more Kansas City relievers finished the game, with Joakim Soria pitching the ninth for his 25th save.
Detroit rookie Jacob Turner struggled in his second career start, allowing six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings.
Duffy had problems of his own, allowing five runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out four, walked three and overthrew his catcher on an intentional walk in the third inning for a bizarre wild pitch.
Duffy said he’d never intentionally walked someone at any level.
“Literally never — never in my whole life,” he said. “I didn’t really know how to go about it. Obviously, you throw it to the glove, but it didn’t happen that way.”
The Tigers had already scored three runs in the third to take a 3-2 lead when that mishap occurred, but Duffy recovered to strike out Alex Avila with men on first and third to end the inning.
In the sixth, Escobar struck out swinging on an inside pitch that hit his right shoulder. Escobar, who hits right-handed, appeared to try to hold up his swing at an inside pitch. He said the bat might have come through the hitting zone because he was trying to avoid the ball.
“If I hadn’t swung, it maybe hits me in my chest,” he said. “I can do nothing in that situation.”
The Royals made up for those bloopers later on, and Francoeur, Hosmer and Giavotella had three hits each. Moustakas extended his hitting streak to 15 games, and Hosmer extended his to 10.