Hochevar, Royals stymie TigersMay 15, 2008 - 4:57 AM By Marc Bowman PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Rookie Luke Hochevar threw six shutout innings as the Kansas City Royals won their third straight game, topping the Detroit Tigers, 2-0, on Wednesday night.
Joey Gathright provided the game's only offense with a bases-loaded single to score Mark Teahen and John Buck in the second inning. It was the only hit of the game with runners in scoring position.
Hochevar (3-2), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, made the two runs stand up in holding the Tigers to four singles while walking three and striking out five.
"I tried to stick with my game plan," Hochevar said. "I wanted to get ahead, throw strikes, and get ground balls. I saw a lot of things Zack (Greinke) did (Tuesday) and I saw some of those same things tonight and I tried to follow it up. My sinker was good and we threw it a lot tonight, trying to be aggressive with it in the strike zone."
"He worked his way out (of jams)," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "He carries himself real well in tight situations even against guys with a lot of experience. Against guys who can do a lot of damage, he seems to keep it together very well."
The 24-year-old righthander allowed just seven balls out of the infield as he matched Minnesota's Nick Blackburn and Oakland's Joey Devine for the lead in wins among American League rookies.
"I think I'm getting better at attacking each hitter one pitch at a time," Hochevar said. "If you execute quality pitches one after the other you usually come out on top. I'm being more aggressive in the strike zone and trusting my pitches. That's something Bucky (catcher John Buck) gets in my ear about, to go right after guys. And when he comes out to the mound, I listen. Anything he tells me I take seriously."
"He's got such an intense personality," Buck said. "He gets amped up and rushes his delivery, so I try to get him to back off that and just attack the strike zone. Sometimes I don't think he knows just how good his stuff is."
Leo Nunez stymied a Detroit scoring chance in the eighth by inducing Magglio Ordonez to ground into a double play after Placido Polanco and Carlos Guillen had singled to start the inning.
"You've got to like your chances in that situation, with first and second, no out and Magglio hitting, and (Miguel) Cabrera right behind him," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But when things aren't going well, it just doesn't work out."
Ron Mahay and Nunez combined for a pair of scoreless frames before Joakim Soria completed the whitewashing with a perfect ninth for his 10th save in as many chances.
"It was an amazing game," Soria said of the shutout. "I felt it and I enjoyed being out there in that situation."
Kansas City has beaten Detroit five straight to start the season, its longest season-opening streak against Detroit since winning seven straight to start the 2003 campaign.
"We swung at a lot of bad balls," Leyland said. "This is a game of adjustments and you could see that Kansas City was making those adjustments. They were pitching backwards, going out of the strike zone on guys they know will swing. We swung at a lot of bad pitches and we made easy outs. There's not a lot of secret to it: If you don't hit, you don't score."
The three-game winning streak is Kansas City's longest since April 6-9.
Justin Verlander (1-7) limited the Royals to two runs and six hits, walking three and fanning three. He left after allowing Tony Pena Jr.'s double to lead off the seventh inning - the only extra-base hit of the contest.
"Justin pitched pretty well," Leyland said. "His worst pitch of the night was to Pena and I went out to get him after that. He did fine. He just gave up the two runs on a soft hit. It was a good effort by our starter. He wasn't perfect, but he was certainly good enough. If we get four, five, six runs, he picks up a win and more important we pick up a win."
"It was OK," Verlander said. "One inning I gave up a couple of runs, but otherwise, nothing. It was good, but not great. The pitch (to Gathright) was a curveball that was going to be in the dirt. He was fooled but he was able to get enough of the bat on it to hit a blooper. It's Murphy's Law; that's really the only explanation."
The 25-year-old righthander lost for the first time against Kansas City. Verlander had compiled a 6-0 record and a 2.65 ERA in nine previous starts vs. the Royals, including a 3-0 mark with a 1.33 ERA at Kauffman Stadium before Wednesday's contest.
"I've been fortunate," Verlander said. "Guys have scored some runs for me. Tonight, I pitched OK and we don't score, so maybe some of that good luck is coming back to haunt me. I'm not worried about it. I know we can hit."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
DETROIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
KANSAS CITY 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 2 7 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: DET - JUSTIN VERLANDER, CLAY RAPADA (7TH), FREDDY DOLSI (7TH) AND
KAN - LUKE HOCHEVAR, RON MAHAY (7TH), LEO NUNEZ (8TH),
JOAKIM SORIA (9TH) AND JOHN
May 14 11:00 PM
AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY JOEY GATHRIGHT SCORED MARK TEAHEN AND JOHN BUCK.
SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J GATHRIGHT ON FIRST, T PENA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 0
KANSAS CITY 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: D DEJESUS (.308, 0-FOR-1)
Tigers 0, Royals 2 Bot 2, 0 OutsMay 14 8:44 PM
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