The Detroit News - - Front Page - Chris.mccosky@de­troit­news.com twit­ter.com/cm­c­cosky

Ful­mer was bril­liant for 82⁄

3 in­nings. He was at 88 pitches and one out from a com­pletegame, four-hit shutout. At that point, he had faced just one bat­ter over the min­i­mum.

“He was lights out,” sec­ond base­man Ian Kinsler said. “He was close to a Greg Mad­dux com­plete game. I wanted to see that. It would’ve been pretty cool.”

But Ra­mon Tor­res sin­gled af­ter an eight-pitch fight, Jorge Boni­fa­cio sin­gled and Drew Butera dou­bled in both run­ners. It looked like Ful­mer was go­ing to get the com­plete game, but left fielder Justin Up­ton dropped a shal­low fly ball by Eric Hos­mer.

At that point, Aus­mus came to get Ful­mer — much to the fans’ dis­plea­sure.

“Yeah, I apol­o­gized to him,” Ful­mer said. “I said, ‘ Sorry Skip.’ I didn’t want them to have to use any­body in the bullpen. He kind of looked at me and said, ‘ Don’t apol­o­gize to me. You had a great game.’

“I don’t blame him for the move. I think they about bat­ted around and ob­vi­ously that can’t hap­pen. I don’t blame him for the man­age­rial move at all. It worked out and we won, that’s all that mat­ters.”

With ev­ery win pre­cious now for the Tigers, Aus­mus wasn’t go­ing to err on the side of sen­ti­men­tal­ity.

“I felt the mo­men­tum was shift­ing,” he said. “I didn’t re­ally want to bring it down to the wire where all of a sud­den the ty­ing run is at the plate…The most im­por­tant thing is win­ning. Could Michael have got­ten the last out, maybe — prob­a­bly, ac­tu­ally.

“But I felt the tide had turned and I wanted to stop the mo­men­tum in its tracks.”

Ful­mer's ef­fort shouldn’t be dis­counted be­cause of the ninth in­ning. Butera’s dou­ble was the only ex­tra-base hit he al­lowed. Three of the hits were erased on dou­ble-play balls. He struck out seven and got 11 ground-ball outs. It was his first win since June 2.

“Yeah, he was re­ally good,” Roy­als man­ager Ned Yost said. “We were hop­ing to wear him down ear­lier than the ninth in­ning with two outs. Just elec­tric fast­ball, re­ally good slider. I mean, we didn’t even re­ally have any scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties up un­til the ninth in­ning.”

Un­like his last start in San Diego, when he pitched seven two-hit in­nings and lost 1-0, the Tigers’ bats backed Ful­mer’s gem. They have strug­gled against no-name and first-year start­ing pitch­ers through­out the sea­son, but they did not strug­gle against Roy­als right-han­der Jakob Ju­nis.

Up­ton mashed a 434-foot three-run home run the first in­ning to set the tone. His 15th homer landed be­yond the visi­tor’s bullpen in left-cen­ter field.

Kinsler led off the third in­ning with his ninth home run, a high-arch­ing shot to left that hit on top of the bullpen roof, just out of the reach of a leap­ing Alex Gor­don.

And An­drew Romine added a two-run shot in the fourth, his ca­reer-high third of the sea­son

The sev­enth run fea­tured an epic, 15-pitch bat­tle be­tween J.D. Martinez and Roy­als re­liever Kevin McCarthy. Martinez fouled off 11 pitches, eight with two strikes on him. One of the ear­lier foul balls car­omed off his right foot, the same foot he sprained in spring train­ing that landed him on the dis­abled list.

Trainer Kevin Rand came out to check on him, but he wanted to fin­ish the at-bat. He fouled off five more pitches, the crowd ris­ing with each one. Fi­nally he slapped the 15th pitch into left field for an RBI sin­gle.

He was im­me­di­ately moved from the game.

“Great at-bat,” Aus­mus said. “Just us­ing cau­tion get­ting him off his feet to keep it from caus­ing any fur­ther dam­age.”

This was the sec­ond-long­est out­ing of Ful­mer’s ca­reer (he had a com­plete-game shutout against the Rangers last sea­son). It also ex­tended his streak of not al­low­ing a home run to 732⁄ in­nings.

3 “Just one out short,” he said. “I felt like the stuff was good all game. Even that ninth in­ning, I got two quick outs. I wasn't try­ing to over-

re- do any­thing. I felt like they fouled off some great pitches and, ul­ti­mately, they just found holes that one in­ning.

“But I am happy with ev­ery­thing.”

Robin Buck­son/Detroit News

Justin Up­ton earns a fist bump af­ter his three-run home run, his 15th of the year, in the first in­ning.

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