Detroit Tigers piled upon early in Game 2, swept in doubleheader by Royals, losing, 7-3

Detroit Free Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Detroit Tigers rookie right-hander Alex Faedo failed to escape the second inning.

“Just spraying balls, not executing,” Faedo said.

The 26-year-old, pitching for the first time since July 4 and second time since June 25, couldn’t command his pitches in Game 2 of Monday’s doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

The Tigers lost, 7-3, and were swept in the twinbill after the 3-1 loss in Game 1.

“No execution,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He couldn’t throw strikes. Every at-bat was a battle. He did get some right-handed hitters out, but he had some kind of trouble throwing strikes to lefties.”

IT WAS A BAD DAY: Tigers drop Game 1 of doubleheader, 3-1, to Brad Keller-led Kansas City Royals

Faedo served as the Tigers’ 27th player for the doubleheader.

The organization has avoided using him on regular rest recently in an effort to monitor his innings and protect his health, especially since he missed last year due to Tommy John surgery.

“It’s not ideal, but I wouldn’t want to use that as an excuse or anything like that,” said Faedo, expected to pitch again this weekend for Triple-A Toledo. “But I’m excited to get back on the mound and just keep working.”

Making his 12th MLB start, Faedo threw 37 pitches in the first inning and 23 pitches for two outs in the second inning. Those early struggles, along with the offense stranding too many runners on base, extended the Tigers’ (36-51) losing streak to four games.

Faedo, who has a 5.53 ERA, allowed four runs on four hits and four walks with two strikeouts, tossing 29 of his 60 pitches for strikes. He fired first-pitch strikes to four of the 13 batters he faced.

Hinch replaced Faedo with left-handed reliever Tyler Alexander, who needed 40 pitches (31 strikes) for the final out in the second inning and three full innings. He gave up one run.

Through three innings, Royals rookie shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. notched three hits and two RBIs. The 22-year-old went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and a stolen base in Game 2, after going 2-for-4 with two stolen bases in Game 1 of the doubleheader.

“He’s a complete player,” Hinch said, following the first four-hit game of Witt’s career. “He looks like he’s settling in. I know he got off to a rough start, but it looks like there’s really nothing he can’t do.”

Witt is hitting .252 with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs in 82 games this season, and in his past 30 games, he has a .314 batting average and an .874 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

The Royals selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft, before the Tigers grabbed outfielder Riley Greene — who did not play in Game 2 for rest — with the No. 5 overall selection.

In the eighth inning, Witt delivered an RBI single for a 6-2 lead.

“From what I’ve seen watching from afar, because I’ve only seen him for two innings here, it just looks like he has every tool,” Faedo said. “He’s going to be a great player, and he’s already doing a great job. He did a great job today.”

Miggy’s still got it

In the fifth inning, Miguel Cabrera doubled to left field against right-handed reliever Jose Cuas. The 39-year-old drove in the Tigers’ third run, cutting the deficit to 5-3. With that hit, Cabrera tied Paul Molitor for 15th on the all-time doubles list and tied Ken Griffey Jr. for 15th on the all-time RBIs list.

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Cabrera, an All-Star in 2022, has 605 doubles and 1,836 RBIs in his 20-year MLB career.

“We walked the first hitter and created a mess,” Hinch said. “We had plenty of opportunities. Our at-bats got a little better as the game went on, but we were in trouble from the very first hitter in the bottom of the first.”

Before Cabrera’s RBI single in the fifth, the Tigers scored one run each in the first and fourth innings.

Robbie Grossman opened the game by reaching safely on a fielder error by third baseman Emmanuel Rivera, and Javier Báez followed up with a double on a first-pitch fastball from left-hander Daniel Lynch to put the Tigers up 1-0.

In the fourth, Willi Castro doubled to center field and scored on an infield single from Jeimer Candelario.

Lynch allowed three runs (two earned runs) on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts over four-plus innings. He threw 72 pitches and exited with a trainer after Grossman’s single in the fifth.

The Tigers’ offense — 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position — finished with 11 hits, one walk and six strikeouts. There were runners on the corners with two outs in the eighth inning, but Candelario struck out looking.

“When you have eight guys left on base, there’s always opportunities when you have that,” Hinch said. “They got opportunities. We got opportunities. They did more with theirs.”

Faedo finished early

The Royals’ offense struck immediately.

In the first inning, Faedo walked leadoff hitter MJ Melendez on five pitches, then gave up an RBI double to Witt — his 18th double this season — on an 2-0 fastball (clocked at 90.7 mph), tying the game.

Faedo walked two of the next four batters, loading the bases for Kyle Isbel. He hammered a full-count fastball with a 105.4 mph exit velocity, but the ball traveled directly to Reyes in right for the third out.

“I threw a couple quality breaking balls that they chased out of the zone,” Faedo said. “But I wouldn’t say anything really clicked. I was just all over the place, not really myself.”

Faedo, despite 37 pitches (17 strikes), stranded the bases loaded and allowed just one run in the first inning.

“He was getting up above 35 pitches,” Hinch said, when asked if he considered removing Faedo in the first. “He was about a hitter away.”

Returning for the second frame didn’t solve Faedo’s problem, as the Royals rattled off three straight singles with one out.

Witt put the Royals ahead 2-1 with his RBI single.

Hunter Dozier lined out to left field for the second out, which ended Faedo’s outing. Alexander entered to face left-handed hitter Ryan O’Hearn, who drove in two runs for a 4-1 lead with a single on the second pitch he saw.

For his 60 pitches, Faedo threw 28 sliders (47%), 28 four-seam fastballs (47%) and four changeups (7%). He recorded four swings and misses, all with his slider, and 12 called strikes.

“Stuff looked sharp,” catcher Eric Haase said. “It just looked like he couldn’t harness everything in the strike zone. He really made some pitches when he had to and found the strike zone. And then in the second inning, he went back out there and it was a little bit of the same thing. … The stuff is there. When he gets back in the strike zone, I think it’s going to work out good.”

Oh, what a relief

Once Faedo exited, the Tigers called four pitchers out of the bullpen to cover the rest of the game.

Alexander handled the most important stretch, keeping the Tigers in the game and giving them a chance to win by carrying the pitching staff through the fifth inning. The Royals scored one run against him in the third — a sacrifice fly from Melendez — for a 5-1 lead.

“For him to eat up those innings, turn over the ball and keep that game still kind of in check was huge,” Haase said. “After the first two innings, it could’ve been a lot uglier than what it ended up being. We still had a chance to win that ballgame. That’s all you can really ask out of Todd right there. He stepped up big.”

The next two pitchers kept the Royals from scoring: Jason Foley in the sixth inning and Joe Jiménez in the seventh. Alex Lange conceded two runs in the eighth inning, with Kansas City scoring its final run on a wild pitch.

Jimenez averaged 96.4 mph with his fastball, topping out at 97.2 mph, and struck out two batters. He has 16 multi-strikeout relief appearances this season, tied for second-most in the American League.

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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