KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chris Young pitched five no-hit innings, but he knew he would not be permitted to go the distance Friday night.
Young, making his first start of the year, struck out nine and walked three before exiting with his pitch count reaching 81, as the Detroit Tigers didn't break through until the eighth in a 4-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
"I wasn't aware of the pitch count," Young said. "I know I could feel a little fatigue."
He told manager Ned Yost he could go back out for the sixth.
"At that point, I thought he felt comfortable turning it over to the pen," Young said. "That wasn't realistic tonight to go nine after not even coming close to that. I think the last time I even went four was in a minor league spring training game."
Yost removed Young after 81 pitches, 33 of them in the fourth inning. Young had not thrown more than three innings and 50 pitches in his five relief appearances.
"I couldn't push him (further)," Yost said. "It's three weeks into the season and the most he's thrown is 50 pitches since spring training. He was 30 over his high water mark this year. He did a great job getting us through five."
"You're generally not going to walk your way to victory, but it gave us an opportunity," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Nick Castellanos laced a clean single to left off right-hander Kelvin Herrera after Alex Avila walked in the eighth for the first Detroit hit. Jose Iglesias had reached on an infield single to load the bases. Avila scored on an Anthony Gose ground out for the lone Tigers run.
Herrera, however, walked Ian Kinsler to again load the bases.
In a 10-pitch battle, Herrera struck out Miguel Cabrera, who fouled off four pitches with two strikes.
"You've got 100 miles-per-hour against the best hitter in the game," Ausmus said. "That's what you want to see. I like my chances with Miggy. It's true with a lot of hitters that the more pitches you see the better your chances. I certainly liked our chances with our best hitter up there."
Herrera, who threw 30 pitches in the eighth, retired Victor Martinez on a fly ball to left field to end the inning.
The Tigers threatened again in the ninth off Wade Davis with a Cespedes double and an Avila single. Davis struck out Castellanos and retired Iglesias on a comebacker to earn his fifth save in as many chances.
"We had the bases loaded in the fourth and the bases loaded in the eighth and we got the tying runs up in the ninth and we couldn't get anything out of it," Kinsler said.
The Royals' 3-4-5 hitters, Lorenzo Cain, Hosmer and Morales combined to go 7 for 12 with all four runs.
Left-hander Kyle Lobstein (2-2) took the loss, yielding four runs on 10 hits in 7 1/3 innings.
BEATING THE SHIFT
Hosmer had a bunt single in the first inning to beat the Tigers' shift. Mike Moustakas did the same Thursday with a bunt single against the shift. "We know what the trends are," Ausmus said. "The trend is that he doesn't bunt a lot. We'll make a slight adjustment, but we're still going to shift on them."
Morales has a season-high eight-game hitting streak. He is hitting .342, 12-for-37, with two outs. He has nine RBIs in his past four games.
Tigers: RHP Bruce Rondon (bicipital tendinitis) faced hitters Thursday at the spring training complex in Lakeland, Florida. Manager Brad Ausmus said Rondon would probably have one more session in Lakeland before going out on a minor league rehab assignment.
Royals: SS Alcides Escobar went on the seven-day concussion disabled list, backdated to Thursday. Escobar failed to pass a concussion test Friday as required. He was hurt when hit in the face by a Danny Salazar pitch Wednesday in Cleveland.
Tigers: LHP David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four games against the Royals, permitting but 12 hits in 22 innings.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez returns Saturday to the rotation after completing a five-game suspension. He has a 1.43 ERA in his past 10 starts.
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