KANSAS CITY, MO. – Johnny Cueto could not have scripted a better introduction to the Kansas City fans.
Cueto threw a four-hitter in his home debut as the Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 4-0 on Monday night. Cueto did not allow a runner past second base, struck out eight and walked none. It was his sixth career shutout and second this season.
"The crowd really gave me an extra boost," Cueto said with catching coach Pedro Grifol acting as his interpreter. "This is the most I've felt from a crowd; the intensity is by far the most.
"I felt really proud the fans were just feeding me that last little boost of energy I needed."
Cueto, who was acquired from Cincinnati on July 26 for three pitching prospects, received a loud cheer as he went out for his warmup pitches, and the standing ovations grew after every scoreless inning.
When Cueto came out for the ninth, the Kauffman Stadium announced crowd of 36,672 rose in unison with a roar that did not stop until long after he retired Victor Martinez on a fly ball to right fielder Alex Rios for the final out.
"A bunch of us were saying in the eighth inning just watch how loud this gets when he goes out for the ninth inning," said Eric Hosmer, who had an RBI single in the seventh. "It was really cool to see and fun to be a part of it."
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus complained to plate umpire Joe West that Cueto's delivery was illegal, that he was stopping in his windup.
"Really, the way the rule reads, you're not supposed to even alter your motion," Ausmus said. "That's the way the rule reads. They don't enforce it. Well, he said if he stops it's an illegal pitch."
Tigers lefty Matt Boyd, who was acquired from Toronto on July 30 in the David Price trade, gave up three runs in the first inning. Boyd (1-3) beat Cueto and the Royals 2-1 last Wednesday.