KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Detroit Tigers had plenty of runners on base against Kansas City Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura, but failed to come up with a big hit.
Eric Hosmer hit his career-high 20th homer, Ventura pitched in and out of trouble, and the Royals snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Tigers on Saturday night.
Detroit left 12 runners on base overall, including nine while Ventura was pitching — going 1 for 9 with men on against him.
“It just came down to us not getting a big hit when we needed it,” Detroit’s Ian Kinsler said. “We had opportunities. We got on base plenty against him. We just couldn’t get a hit to drive in some runs tonight.”
Ventura (10-9) threw 53 strikes and 52 balls in six innings, allowing one run and six hits with six walks and a wild pitch. He improved to 7-0 against the Tigers, including three wins this season, and is 4-0 overall in his past six starts.
Hosmer homered in the fourth off Michael Fulmer after Cheslor Cuthbert led off the inning with a double. Hosmer’s previous high was 19 as a rookie in 2011.
Fulmer (10-6) gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings for the Tigers, falling to 1-4 in his past five starts. He walked one and struck out four.
“The 2-2 pitch to Hosmer, I threw it up and in,” Fulmer said. “I could have gotten it a little higher, but it was in. He put a good swing on it and got the barrel to it.”
Successive bunt singles by Raul Mondesi and Jarrod Dyson led to a run in the fifth as Cuthbert’s two-out single scored Mondesi.
“Speed never has a day off,” Kinsler said. “It’s something that applies pressure constantly. So, it’s tough when you have three guys in a row that can run. It’s a nice luxury for them to have.”
James McCann’s fielder’s choice ground out in the fourth scored J.D. Martinez, who led off the inning with a double, for the only run Ventura allowed.
“I would say ‘effectively wild’ describes his outing today,” McCann said. “But at the end of the day, he found a way to get it done in some big spots and keep us from getting the big hit when we needed it.”
Alcides Escobar’s bases-loaded single in the eighth scored pinch-runner Terrance Gore and Salvador Perez for the final Kansas City runs. Escobar extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games.
Kinsler homered on an 0-2 pitch from Brooks Pounders to lead off the Tigers’ ninth.
Wade Davis, who blew a save Friday, was summoned to get the final outs, striking out Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez, picking up his 22nd save in 25 opportunities.
The Tigers purchased the contract of LHP Joe Mantiply from Double-A Erie. In his final 13 outings for Erie, covering 15 innings, Mantiply did not allow a run and held opposing hitters to a .096 batting average. He limited left-handed hitters to a .147 average with a .196 slugging percentage for the season. The Tigers designated for assignment RHP Donn Roach to make roster space for Mantiply, who retired Jarrod Dyson on a fly ball to end the eighth in his major league debut.
Tigers: 3B Erick Aybar was scratched with left abdominal soreness, which he aggravated while running the bases Friday. Andrew Romine replaced him in the lineup. … RHP Mike Pelfrey, who is on the disabled list with a lower back strain, made his second rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Toledo, giving up five runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings at Columbus, striking out one and walking none.
Royals: LF Alex Gordon left in the ninth inning with tightness in his right Achilles.. … OF Lorenzo Cain has not played since Tuesday because of left wrist inflammation. “We’re just trying to get it back to where it’s playable,” Yost said. He said Cain received an injection Tuesday.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris, who starts the series finale, is 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA in two career starts against the Royals.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez allowed four runs on nine hits in 3 1-3 innings in his Tuesday start against the Yankees.