DETROIT — Matthew Boyd followed up his worst start of the season with his best, at a time when the Tigers really needed it. His 5 2/3 scoreless innings supported an early offensive outburst for a 6-0 win over the Royals on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.
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Six days after the Brewers roughed up Boyd for seven runs in three innings in a 19-0 Tigers loss, the lefty bounced back to help Detroit rebound from a three-game series sweep to the White Sox last weekend. He did so against a Royals lineup that has hit him hard over the years despite his relative success against them, including two victories last year.
An early Royals threat Tuesday looked like a continuation from their win last July. Whit Merrifield hit Boyd’s second pitch of the night off the right-field wall for a leadoff double, his 10th time reaching safely in a stretch of 11 plate appearances against Boyd. Two pitches later, Merrifield stole third base to intensify the danger. But Boyd not only induced a ground ball from old nemesis Salvador Perez, he got an out at the plate when Merrifield tested rookie shortstop Willi Castro.
The Tigers pulled ahead with three runs in the bottom of the first — two on a single from ex-Royal
The doubles by Merrifield and Perez comprised all the Royals’ hits off Boyd, who threw arguably his best pitch mix all season. Though Boyd still went with a heavy dose of fastballs, he mixed changeups with sliders, building on the approach that helped him beat Kansas City last September. He also added in 10 curveballs.