KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chris Young does not throw hard with his fastball topping out at 88 miles per hour.
But Young continues to baffle the Detroit Tigers.
Young pitched five no-hit innings and the Tigers didn’t break through until the eighth in a 4-1 loss Friday night to the Kansas City Royals.
“He buries his off-speed stuff and comes in high with the fastball,” Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos said. “He’s so tall (6-10) and throws from such a high angle. Sometimes when a pitcher throws slower you expand the strike zone and sometimes you go after pitches you shouldn’t.
“Just because you can get to it doesn’t mean you should get to it. He’s made a career out of that. He sticks to his plan and executes it pretty well. He only throws you a strike when he wants to throw you a strike.”
Young is 3-0 with a 1.41 ERA in five career starts against the Tigers. He beat them twice last year with Seattle.
“He’s big and throws 88, but it looks like 90s,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. “It’s tough to pick up. Some guys just have your number.”
Young, making his first start of the year after five relief appearances, struck out nine and walked three before exiting with his pitch count reaching 81.
“He pitched up and down; fastball up, slider down,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s given us trouble the last few years. The slider he’s throwing, they had trouble picking up the rotation on the slider.”
Young (2-0) walked the bases full with one out in the fourth, but recovered to strike out J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes on seven pitches to end the inning.
Ryan Madson pitched two perfect innings after Young was pulled. Kendrys Morales drove in three of the Royals’ runs.
Nick Castellanos laced a clean single to left off right-hander Kelvin Herrera after Alex Avila walked in the eighth for the first Detroit hit. Jose Iglesias had reached on an infield single to load the bases. Avila scored on an Anthony Gose ground out for the lone Tigers run.
Herrera, however, walked Ian Kinsler to again load the bases.
In a 10-pitch battle, Herrera struck out Miguel Cabrera, who fouled off four pitches with two strikes. Herrera, who threw 30 pitches in the eighth, retired Victor Martinez on a fly ball to left field to end the inning.
The Tigers threatened again in the ninth off Wade Davis with a Cespedes double and an Avila single. Davis struck out Castellanos and retired Iglesias on a comebacker to earn his fifth save in as many chances.
The Royals’ 3-4-5 hitters, Lorenzo Cain, Hosmer and Morales combined to go 7 for 12 with all four runs.
Left-hander Kyle Lobstein (2-2) took the loss, yielding four runs on 10 hits in 7 1-3 innings.
BEATING THE SHIFT
Hosmer had a bunt single in the first inning to beat the Tigers’ shift. Mike Moustakas did the same Thursday with a bunt single against the shift. “We know what the trends are,” Ausmus said. “The trend is that he doesn’t bunt a lot. We’ll make a slight adjustment, but we’re still going to shift on them.”
Morales has a season-high eight-game hitting streak. He is hitting .342, 12-for-37, with two outs. He has nine RBIs in his past four games.
Tigers: RHP Bruce Rondon (bicipital tendinitis) faced hitters Thursday at the spring training complex in Lakeland, Florida. Manager Brad Ausmus said Rondon would probably have one more session in Lakeland before going out on a minor league rehab assignment.
Royals: SS Alcides Escobar went on the seven-day concussion disabled list, backdated to Thursday. Escobar failed to pass a concussion test Friday as required. He was hurt when hit in the face by a Danny Salazar pitch Wednesday in Cleveland.
Tigers: LHP David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four games against the Royals, permitting but 12 hits in 22 innings.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez returns Saturday to the rotation after completing a five-game suspension. He has a 1.43 ERA in his past 10 starts.
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