DETROIT, Michigan - Finally, the Royals got some late-innings production.
Kansas City had taken early leads in two previous losses to the Tigers but then watched its offense go dormant, not scoring a run after the third inning in either the 4-3 or 5-4 defeats.
Not on Thursday. The Royals scratched across a run in the seventh on a hit batter, a double and an RBI fielder’s choice by Salvador Perez. Kansas City pushed across two more in the eighth on a big two-run double by Bubba Starling en route to a 5-3 victory over Detroit, thus splitting the four-game set.
Trevor Rosenthal got his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth, but it was also his first save since Aug. 12, 2017, when he was with the Cardinals.
“I know it is extra special, wearing this jersey, too,” Matheny said of Rosenthal, who is from Lee’s Summit, Mo. “It was a big day. He was all smiles [after the game]. That’s just amazing. He’s throwing 100 [mph], gets behind a hitter and throws a 90-mph slider. It’s almost not fair."
Rosenthal said he had no idea when his last save was.
“Really, I don’t,” Rosenthal said. “I have been looking forward to this opportunity. [Emotions] weren’t too bad.”
Mondesi had a dreadful game on Wednesday night, going hitless, committing an error and not running out a popup that was dropped in the ninth. Thursday, he said he felt good about being able to bounce back.
“It feels good,” Mondesi said. “My teammates, we all support each other.”
Rookie right-hander Brady Singer, who made his MLB debut on Saturday in Cleveland, once again turned in a solid outing. He allowed just two runs over five innings against the Indians in his debut, then repeated the feat against the Tigers.
Singer scattered five hits, walked two and struck out three. He paid for two mistakes -- a 0-1 slider to Miguel Cabrera in the first that Cabrera flipped over the right-field fence for a homer, and an 0-2 slider to Jonathan Schoop in the fourth. The slider to Schoop was off the plate, and Schoop, who had three home runs in the series, reached with his lead arm and barreled it over the left-center-field fence.
“He had such a good slider in Cleveland,” Matheny said, “but he never got a feel for it tonight.”
Cabrera also homered off Ian Kennedy in the eighth.
Singer threw 82 pitches, 54 for strikes. Interestingly, he threw eight changeups, a pitch he has been trying to develop since Spring Training. Three of those were called strikes, one was swinging and two were fouled off.
“I threw some good ones,” Singer said. “I got more confidence in it. ... [Overall] I wasn’t as crisp as I was in Cleveland. But I battled.”
The Royals took the lead in the first when Jorge Soler doubled and came home on a single up the middle from Ryan O'Hearn. The Royals made it 2-1 in the second inning on a Gordon double and an RBI single by Franchy Cordero.