Detroit – They were separated by 237 picks in the 2018 draft. There wasn’t nearly that much separation Wednesday night.
Tigers lefty Tarik Skubal, a ninth-round pick out of Seattle University, went nearly pitch for pitch with Royals right-hander Brady Singer, the 18th overall pick in 2018 out of Florida. The difference between the two, essentially, was one batter – Salvador Perez.
Perez knocked in three runs and the Royals beat the Tigers 4-0 at Comerica Park.
He clubbed his sixth home run of the year, a two-run shot in the first inning. It came after an error by third baseman Sergio Alcantara and on the 15th straight fastball Skubal threw to start the game.
Skubal struck out Perez in the third inning, throwing him three straight change-ups. But with Whit Merrifield on second in the fifth inning, Skubal tried to beat him again with a change-up. Perez lashed into right-center for an RBI double.
That was the only damage against Skubal (three runs, two earned). He struck out a career-best eight over six innings with no walks. Featuring mostly a four-seam fastball (94-98 mph) and a change-up, Skubal got 17 swings-and-misses and 15 called strikes out of his 90 pitches.
Singer bested him, though. He shut the Tigers out for six innings on two hits, also striking out eight.
After coming within four outs of throwing a no-hitter in Cleveland in his last start, Singer dispatched the first 10 Tigers he faced Wednesday, striking out six of them. Willi Castro and Jeimer Candelario, the two hottest-hitting Tigers, scratched him for singles in the fourth, but nothing came of it.
A fifth-inning walk to catcher Eric Haase, the Dearborn Divine Child grad making his first start for the Tigers, was the only other base runner against Singer, who has thrown 14 straight shutout innings for the Royals.
The Royals tacked on a run in the eighth off reliever Gregory Soto, whose wounds were mostly self-inflicted. After two infield singles, he failed to hold the runners. Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi swiped third and second base, respectively.
Merrifield scored on a wild pitch.
The Tigers didn’t put another runner on base after Haase’s walk. Between Singer and three relievers (Jesse Hahn, Scott Barlow and Greg Holland), the last 14 hitters were set down.