Mike Montgomery finally got Kansas City a win, 11 years after being drafted by the Royals.
The 30-year-old Montgomery struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings as the Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 7-0 Saturday.
“It took a little while to get my first win as a Royal, but it feels good,” Montgomery said. “We needed this one, which makes it even better.”
Montgomery was selected in the first round of the 2008 draft, but went to Tampa Bay in a trade for Wade Davis and James Shields in 2012. He made his major-league debut with the Mariners in 2015 before winning a World Series ring with the Cubs in 2016.
On July 15, he returned to Kansas City in a trade for catcher Martin Maldonado.
“I would have never believed it if you would have told me it would take this long to win for Kansas City,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of experiences since I was last with the Royals, so to win this game and do it with a career-high in strikeouts makes it even sweeter.”
Jorge Soler homered and scored twice for the Royals, who had lost six of seven.
The Tigers were trying to win three straight games for the first time since May 28-31, against the Orioles and Braves.
“He had a great changeup and he came hard inside on a lot of guys,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We really didn’t even hit many balls hard.”
Montgomery (2-5) picked up his first win of the year as a starter, allowing four singles without walking a batter. He struck out 10 Royals for Seattle on June 13, 2015.
“That was enjoyable to watch,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You could tell right from the outset that he was on his game.”
Spencer Turnbull (3-10) pitched six innings, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk.
Neither team had a baserunner until Whit Merrifield singled to start the fourth. Turnbull retired the next two batters before Jorge Soler homered off the brick wall behind the stands in right-center.
“I knew he hit it hard, but that’s the deepest part of the ballpark, so I wasn’t sure,” Yost said. “I had to look again to see where it hit. He really crushed it.”
It was Soler’s second homer in as many games and 33rd of the season.
Brandon Dixon broke up Montgomery’s perfect game with a leadoff single in the fifth, but was caught stealing.
“He was really tough out there,” Tigers catcher Jake Rogers said. “He went right after us and we weren’t able to do anything against him.”
The top three in Detroit’s order — Victor Reyes, Niko Goodrum and Miguel Cabrera — went 0-6 with six strikeouts the first two times through the order.
The Royals made it 4-0 off Gregory Soto in the seventh. With two out, Soto misplayed a grounder by Meibrys Viloria. He recovered with time to throw out the bulky Viloria, but threw the ball into right field, allowing Soler and Bubba Starling to score.
“Once the ball hit off his glove, he just panicked,” Gardenhire said. “All he had to do was make a nice, easy throw, but he rushed it.”
The inning could have gotten worse, but right-fielder Travis Demeritte made a running catch of a drive to deep right-center by Humberto Arteaga and got Soto out of the inning.
Hunter Dozier made it 5-0 with an RBI triple in the eighth, and Merrifield added a two-run double in the ninth.
Gardenhire was relieved the Tigers escaped Merrifield’s blooper without major injury. The ball fell between Demeritte, Reyes and Goodrum, all of whom had to take evasive action to avoid a full-speed collision. Goodrum spiked Reyes in the shin, but he stayed in the game.
“That could have been a lot worse,” Gardenhire said. “Merrifield got jammed and it landed in the perfect spot with all three guys trying to make a play. We got lucky there.”
NEGRO LEAGUE TRIBUTE
The Royals wore the uniforms of the Kansas City Monarchs, while the Tigers were dressed as the Detroit Stars as part of Detroit’s annual Negro League weekend.
Royals: SS Adalberto Mondesi (shoulder) is taking grounders and throwing, but has not begun to swing a bat. He’s been out since injuring his shoulder on July 17.
Tigers: LF Christin Stewart (concussion) was recalled from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo after his symptoms returned. He was able to do a cardio workout on Saturday. … CF JaCoby Jones missed his second straight game after being hit in the wrist on Thursday.
The teams finish their four-game series on Sunday with Detroit’s Daniel Norris (3-9, 4.76) facing Jakob Junis (7-10, 4.88).
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