The bats were warm too Detroit Tigers Wednesday in Kansas City.
The Tigers’ seventh inning rally was enough to keep the Royals out 6-5 and complete a three-game series.
The big blow in the seventh, after a leadoff walk by Niko Goodrum, came out of the bat for Willi Castro, who launched a 3-2-breaking ball from Greg Holland to midfield for a two-run home run to level the game, 3 -3. The ball traveled 421 feet.
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“He’s gaining some confidence at the plate and starting to chase the right spots,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “The home run was a long bat and … they teased him a bit with the breaking ball. He fired to get to (3-2, and a) veteran pitcher makes a mistake and Willie made him pay.”
A wild pitch from another Royals reliever, Scott Barlow, allowed Robbie Grossman to run home, giving the Tigers a lead they would not give up.
In the eighth, another wild pitch, this one from Jake Brentz, opened the door for Goodrum to slip home and push the lead to two.
The crime backed a solid effort from starting pitcher Tarik Skubal and some fine bullpen work, with the exception of a leaky performance from Michael Fulmer in the ninth.
In the first four innings, Skubal gave up three earned runs. It took seven seats for Skubal to get out of the sixth, afterwards he called it a night. He would retire with seven strikes and two walks.
“(Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal) do a great job of growing up in the big leagues and taking responsibility and going with it,” Hinch said. “There will be a day when Tariks does not come out in the ’90s where he has plenty left in the tank.”
“They know they have the responsibility to give this team a chance to win because they get the ball first. Both of these guys are built the right way and they react accordingly.”
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After allowing just one in the first inning, Skubal gave up a leadoff homer in the second to Adalberto Mondesi, who hit a 95-mph fastball across the center field to give the Royals their first lead in the series.
More trouble came in the third when Salvador Perez, after a Carlos Santana single, smashed a two-run home left to give the Royals a 3-1 lead.
But Skubal avoided further injury the rest of the game. He stranded two runners after back-to-back singles in the fourth thanks to a force release from the ground by Cam Gallagher and a Whit Merrifield strike. So in the fifth, a two-out walk was erased by a groundout.
“I knew the change (up) that would be a huge pitch for me, especially against this lineup, as long as they are all right-handed,” Skubal said. “Just being able to expand the zone a bit and work down and tell you that the fastball game later was what was a big pitch for me to go into this game, especially since my last time I had no feeling for it. “
Skubal only needed six spots to get through the sixth. In all, he allowed three runs on six hits and twice while hitting seven.
After a one-walk by starting pitcher Brady Singer at first, Akil Baddoo tried to steal second, but was called out after a perfectly placed throw by Gallagher to Hanser Alberto in the first place.
The Tigers opened the second with a Jonathan Schoop single and a Harold Castro double, but Nomar Mazara (groundout), Goodrum (strikeout) and Willi Castro (groundout) could not get the Tigers on the scoreboard.
But that changed in the third. Baddoo’s first hit of the game was a two-out double that grazed the right field violation line, and it was followed by an RBI double by Jeimer Candelario to the midfield that bid the game, 1-1.
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A triple by Mazara and a Goodrum walk were stopped by consecutive groundouts that stranded four runners in four innings.
The Tigers had 13 hits on Wednesday and finished all three games in the series with double-digit hits.
“If you want to win, you have to do both. You have to play some defense,” Hinch said. “You’re not going to be perfect in all of these areas. Our job is to play the whole game. The winning culture comes with committing to performing these parts and when it all comes together. It’s a fun team. It’s a good team. “
Schoop led the Tigers on Wednesday with three singles, his fifth game with three hits of the season. Baddoo and Castro ended the game with two hits each; Candelario and Castro added one and two RBIs, respectively.
“Everyone’s here for a reason. We’re really good hitters. We’re competing,” said Wilie Castro, who hit his seventh home run of the season. “We have to focus on the big games we’ve had.”
What a relief
On Monday, the Tigers needed nine pitchers to defeat the royals. They only needed four on Wednesday.
With runners-up corners, Salvador Perez hit a 5-4-3 double and helped Bryan Garcia escape from the seventh inning.
Jose Cisnero, a reliever with 3.41 ERA, finished the eighth with three quick outs on bare lanes.
Fulmer, who came into the game 4-for-5 on save options this season, then got the ball in the ninth.
After relinquishing a leadoff single to Hanser Alberto and a conversation with Rogers on the mound, Fulmer gave up an RBI double to Merrifield and a run-scoring single to the center of Santana, reducing the lead to one.
But Fulmer knocked out Perez to end the game and series, giving the Tigers something to celebrate as they headed to California for a four-game series against the Angels beginning Thursday.
Mia Berry is a sports reporting intern at Free Press. Reach out via email: email@example.com.