Detroit, MI (WKZO) – The Tigers’ search for a closer looks to be over as the return of Papa Grande to the Motor City couldn’t have gone any better. Making his first appearance back in a Detroit uniform, Jose Valverde shut the door on the Royals with a perfect ninth inning closing out a 7-5 victory for the Tigers over Kansas City, ending a four game losing streak.
A poor 2012 postseason left Valverde without a home as the 2013 season began. But with the Tigers closer situation shaky, they decided to reach out to Valverde with a minor league deal to see if he had anything left to offer. Three innings of shutout ball at Single-A Lakeland was enough for the Tigers to sign Valverde a big league deal and give him back his spot back as the closer.
And on Wednesday "new" Papa Grande looked like the old Papa Grande. Same entrance dance out of the bullpen, same music, and same victory dance after he got Billy Butler to fly out for the third and final out for his 111th save as a Tiger.
However, it was the worst start of the young season for the Tigers’ starter Max Scherzer, who still got the win improving his record to 2-0, while tossing five innings but was touched for five runs on seven hits and three walks. Scherzer fanned six and ranks third in the AL with 36 strikeouts this season.
After a simple first and second inning, Scherzer allowed four runs to the Royals in the third inning, giving up five straight hits before recording an out, but the Tigers bats were able to bail Scherzer out.
Slumping Victor Martinez went 2 for 5 with two RBI’s including the game winning RBI single in the fourth to put the Tigers up 6-4. Martinez also had an RBI double in the third.
Wade Davis (2-1) took the loss for the Royals, giving up seven runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings. Davis allowed eight hits and four walks while only getting 11 outs.
*Max Scherzer allowed a double to Eric Hosmer to open the second inning, but retired the next three batters, stranding Hosmer in scoring position.
*With two outs in the Tigers half of the second, Omar Infante singled home Jhonny Peralta from second to put the Tigers on the board up 1-0. Infante had three hits.
*Tigers tied the game at four in the fourth when a Torii Hunter ground ball went through the legs of Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas scoring Infante. Miguel Cabrera then put the Tigers in the lead 5-4 with a sac fly to left field scoring Austin Jackson.
*Scherzer walked the first two hitters in the fifth and then loaded the bases with no outs after an infield single to Alcides Escobar. Scherzer walked Eric Hosmer with one out for the Royals fifth run, but no further damage was recorded.
*Victor Martinez was thrown out at home by Jeff Francoeur to end the Tigers threat in the third inning.
*Infante hit his first triple of the season to open the fifth but was stranded on third.
Game Notes: Prince Fielder walked three times and Alex Avila walked twice…Jhonny Peralta had two hits and two RBI’s….The Royals bullpen tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings…Al Alburquerque replaced Scherzer in the sixth and went 1 2/3 innings before being taken out with two runners on in the seventh. Joaquin Benoit recorded the final out of the seventh and put the Royals down 1-2-3 in the eighth...James Shields (1-2, 3.00) gets the start on Thursday, his first against the Tigers as a member of the Royals. Justin Verlander (2-2, 2.13) starts for Detroit. First pitch is set for 1:08pm on 590 WKZO