WATCH: Pelfrey Endures 'Terrible' Outing; Tigers Fall 8-4 with Pelfrey, Ausmus & Kinsler Reaction
DETROIT (AP) - Mike Pelfrey described his performance as "terrible" over and over in a harsh postgame assessment that few would disagree with.
Pelfrey allowed four runs in the first inning and didn't make it out of the second Saturday night, putting the Detroit Tigers in an early hole in their 8-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
"I felt like I'd never thrown the ball before. That was embarrassing," Pelfrey said. "I didn't have any idea where the ball was going, as everyone could probably tell."
Ian Kinsler homered for Detroit, but the Tigers were facing a significant deficit before they even came up to bat for the first time. Pelfrey (2-9) allowed five runs, four hits and four walks in 1 2/3 innings.
"I was terrible. Didn't get ahead, and half the guys I faced either got walks or hits. I was terrible," Pelfrey said. "This game's on me. I put the bullpen in a bad spot, I put the offense in a bad spot, and I take full responsibility for it. I was terrible. I got what I deserved."
Salvador Perez singled, doubled, scored a run and drew two of Kansas City's seven walks. Every hitter in the Royals' lineup scored exactly once except right fielder Paulo Orlando.
Danny Duffy (5-1) allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings for Kansas City. He struck out seven and walked one.
Pelfrey actually retired the first batter of the game, but the next six Kansas City hitters reached base. Alex Gordon opened the scoring with a bases-loaded single, and Pelfrey then hit Orlando to force in another run. Cheslor Cuthbert's RBI single made it 3-0, and Christian Colon brought home another run with a groundout.
After allowing a single and two walks in the second, Pelfrey was pulled with the bases loaded and two outs. Reliever Dustin Molleken immediately threw a wild pitch that made it 5-1.
"We were hoping to get some momentum after winning yesterday in our first game back, but the expression is that momentum is your next starting pitcher and Pelf just had an off day," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Kinsler's two-run homer in the third cut the lead in half, but the Royals added three more runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Colon, Jarrod Dyson and Eric Hosmer.
Royals closer Wade Davis pitched a perfect ninth inning in his return from a strained forearm. Davis was activated from the disabled list before the game, and Kansas City went ahead and used him in a non-save situation.
WAITING HIM OUT
The Royals aren't a team that walks much, but they adjusted when it became clear Pelfrey was having control problems.
"We put in some good at-bats there in the first inning," Hosmer said. "A lot of guys toned down the aggressiveness a little bit, wanted to see some pitches."
The Tigers optioned OF Steven Moya to Triple-A Toledo after the game. They'll have OF Justin Upton back from the bereavement list for Sunday's game against Kansas City.
Royals: Davis hadn't pitched since June 30. ... Manager Ned Yost said OF Lorenzo Cain (left hamstring strain) might go out on a rehab assignment next week.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (right oblique strain) is expected to begin rehab work with Toledo next week. ... RHP Jordan Zimmermann (right neck strain) said he'll probably throw a bullpen session Monday.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura (6-7) takes the mound in the series finale Sunday. He's 6-0 with a 3.27 ERA in his career against the Tigers.
Tigers: Rookie RHP Michael Fulmer (9-2) tries for his 10th consecutive start allowing one earned run or fewer.