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Royals can't hang on after Fillmyer's fine start

Rookie right-hander goes 6 2/3 strong frames against Tigers
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer may have shown a glimpse of a bright future as part of the Royals' rebuild.

Fillmyer was in control all game, throwing 6 2/3 innings while giving up three singles and one earned run, and striking out six in just his second Major League start. Fillmyer was denied his first win when Brandon Maurer blew the save by giving up three runs in the ninth in a 5-4 loss to the Tigers on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

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KANSAS CITY -- Rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer may have shown a glimpse of a bright future as part of the Royals' rebuild.

Fillmyer was in control all game, throwing 6 2/3 innings while giving up three singles and one earned run, and striking out six in just his second Major League start. Fillmyer was denied his first win when Brandon Maurer blew the save by giving up three runs in the ninth in a 5-4 loss to the Tigers on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

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"It's just been a struggle for Brandon here lately," manager Ned Yost said. "He had 20-something saves last year, he's had experience doing it. It's just been a struggle. His stuff's really good. His first fastball tonight was 98 mph. It's just been kind of a rough go for him."

Maurer, whose ERA ballooned to 14.25, gave up hits to all three batters he faced, including a tying two-run double to Jim Adduci. Wily Peralta, who had posted consecutive saves, was unavailable after pitching three straight days. The loss snapped the Royals' three-game winning streak.

"I haven't looked [at the video] yet," Maurer said. "But I'm assuming if the velo was good and I was getting hit, it was location. ... I'm just trying to get out of [this slump]."

Fillmyer, 24, acquired along with right-hander Jesse Hahn in the offseason Brandon Moss trade with the A's, retired 15 straight batters at one point.

Video: DET@KC: Yost on a solid outing from Fillmyer in loss

"What a game he pitched," Yost said.

"I think getting comfortable and getting a feel for your stuff as the game goes on, it's part of it," Fillmyer said. "For me it just happens. It's not something that just like clicks in my head I guess. My body works. It's just a rhythm for me."

Yost came out to the mound to possibly give Fillmyer the hook after a two-out walk in the seventh. After a brief chat with catcher Drew Butera, Yost left Fillmyer in. Adduci flared a single to left and Fillmyer's night was over after 88 pitches.

Who made the case for Fillmyer to stay in?

"I think it was a little bit of all us [in the huddle at the mound]," Fillmyer said. "I didn't want to come out of the game. I still didn't want to come out the time I did. But that's not my decision. [Yost] asked me if I was tired or feeling any way. I told him absolutely not and I felt good, and he trusted me. I went out there and tried to do my best the next batter."

Detroit pushed across both of Fillmyer's inherited runners, though only one run was earned.

Coming off the Twins series in which he went 5-for-10 with a home run and four RBIs, Royals first baseman Lucas Duda continued to show his potential as a left-handed bat to contenders at the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- there were scouts from the Dodgers, Giants, Phillies and Yankees in attendance.

Video: DET@KC: Duda plates 2 with a bases-loaded knock

Duda ripped a two-run single in the first. Then he hit a soft liner to left-center in the fifth inning, scoring Jorge Bonifacio from second base to give the Royals a 3-0 lead.

Duda is now 11-for-33 in his past nine games.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Royals missed a great chance for at least one run in the eighth. Butera led off with an infield single and advanced to second on Whit Merrifield's sacrifice bunt. Butera, though, got a bad read on Rosell Herrera's soft liner down the left-field line and could not score, even though Herrera made it to second for a double. Salvador Perez popped out and Alex Gordon grounded out, ending the threat.

"I knew they were playing shaded to the gap," Butera said. "I saw it off the bat and I didn't think it would fade toward the line. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't caught and I didn't get doubled off with guys coming up next."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Perez, playing first base instead of catching, made an incredible play in the fifth inning. Adduci hit a grounder that Perez couldn't handle. But Perez retrieved the ball and flipped a no-look, behind-the-back throw to Fillmyer at first for the out. More >

Video: DET@KC: Perez makes a slick behind-the-back flip

UP NEXT
Right-hander Burch Smith (0-1, 5.98 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals in the middle game of the series with the Tigers at 7:15 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium. Smith, who will be making his third start of the season, worked on three days' rest in his last start on July 15 against the White Sox -- giving up two runs over two innings in a 10-1 loss. Righty Jordan Zimmermann (4-1, 3.71 ERA) will pitch for the Tigers.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Lucas Duda, Heath Fillmyer