A loss to Minnesota and a win by the Blue Jays in Buffalo officially eliminated the Tigers from playoff contention on Wednesday night.
That didn't stop the offense from competing Thursday in the final series of the season, however. Even with eight runs given up through six innings, the Tigers still fought hard, but ultimately fell to the Royals by a final score of 8-7.
Fulmer Crumbles in Final Start of Season
In what will most likely be the most interesting stretch of his career, Michael Fulmer failed to exit on a high note in 2020.
After missing the entire 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, everyone understood that the former rookie of the year's pitch count would be under a vigilant watch.
Fulmer never pitched more than three innings this season, nor did his pitch count top 65 in any outing.
That stayed true once again as Fulmer delivered just 42 pitches on Thursday night.
Right from the get-go, the Royals pounced on the former ace. The first two Royals reached on a pair of singles, and Salvador Perez sent them home. The six-time all-star smacked a two-seamer to left field to give Kansas City an early 3-0 lead in the first.
A 1-2-3 second inning gave Fulmer some hope to finish strong, but newly appointed manager Lloyd McClendon yanked the Oklahoma native after a poor start to the third.
Once again, Fulmer allowed back to back singles to start the inning followed by a sacrifice fly to Maikel Franco and then another single, this time from Hunter Dozier.
That was all she wrote for Fulmer as he exited the 2020 season with a final ERA of 8.17.
Tyler Alexander entered the game and made himself useful for a couple of innings before allowing Maikel Franco to send a changeup over the fence to retake the lead at the time.
Gregory Soto followed and allowed three more runs, giving the Royals eight runs in six innings.
Miguel Belts Another Bomb
Even with the eight runs and 11 hits allowed, the Tigers offense kept the game in reach with 14 knocks of their own.
Down 3-0 at the time, Willi Castro started things up in the third inning, sending a moonshot into left field off Kris Bubic, cutting the lead to one.
In the fifth, Castro started things off once again, but Miguel Cabrera finished it off. After Castro singled, Cabrera blasted a 450-foot shot to center field to tie the game at four.
The bomb was Miggy's fourth home run in the last four days, moving him to 487 on the career total ticker.
A couple of goose eggs followed in the sixth and seventh inning, but they cut the deficit once again in the eighth.
Now down 8-4, the ballclub recorded five singles on their way to scoring three runs to bring them within one and had the chance to tie the game or even take the lead.
With runners at the corners, Niko Goodrum stepped to the plate and whiffed at a slider in the dirt to strand the tying run at first. Still down just one run in the ninth, the Tigers possessed another chance to come from behind once again.
Royals pitcher Jake Newberry rejected that plan, sending down the 6-7-8 hitters to claim a save and the 8-7 victory.
The Tigers will take on the Royals once again, Friday night at 8:05, as part of the season's final series.
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