Maldonado, Soler hit home runs, Royals beat Tigers 8-5

By DICK KAEGEL

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Martin Maldonado and Jorge Soler hit late homers and Whit Merrifield scored on a wild pitch as the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 8-5 Friday night.

Bubba Starling was hitless in his long-awaited major league debut for Kansas City, and the Royals lost starter Danny Duffy to a bruised pitching hand.

Maldonado hit a solo homer that snapped a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning. Merrifield hit a double, stole third and scored on a wild pitch in the same inning. Soler added an insurance run, opening the eighth inning with his 24th homer of the season.

Starling, a three-sport star from nearby Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) High School who was taken by the Royals in the first round of the 2011 draft, ended his 7 1/2-year pilgrimage through the minors.

He was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd of 25,059. He walked in his first at-bat in the second inning and scored on a throwing error. He struck out and grounded out twice.

Playing center field, Starling tried for a diving catch of a sinking liner off the bat of Victor Reyes in the sixth inning, but it went off his glove for a run-scoring double.

Reyes had three hits and scored twice for the Tigers.

Reyes opened the Tigers’ third with a liner off Duffy’s left hand for a single. Duffy was examined by a trainer and, after a practice toss, stayed in the game. But the left-hander immediately struggled.

Duffy threw a wild pitch and then walked Nicholas Castellanos. Miguel Cabrera followed with a run-scoring single and Brandon Dixon lined an RBI double to right center to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Duffy was then pulled in favor of right-hander Jorge Lopez.

Duffy sustained a contusion of the left hand, but the Royals reported that X-rays were negative and his status is day to day.

The Tigers scored another run when first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert made an error on a sharp grounder by Jeimer Candelario. Lopez got out of the inning with a strikeout and a double play.