Homecoming King: KC native Joey Wentz earns first big-league win vs. his boyhood team

Detroit News

Kansas City, Mo. — Nice of the Tigers’ offense to provide a comfortable cushion for rookie Joey Wentz in his homecoming debut.

Wentz, a former prep star from nearby Prairie Village, made his first start for the Tigers since May 31 and his first as a big-leaguer at Kauffman Stadium where he attended games as a kid. He was pitching in front of some 40 friends and family members Friday night.

By the time Wentz went out for his second inning of work, he had a 4-0 lead. And when he walked off to a rousing applause with two outs in the seventh, he was well on his way to his first major league win — Tigers 10, Royals 2.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 10, Royals 2

The former Kansas City metro prep player of the year at Shawnee Mission East allowed only two hits and a walk and used an efficient 87 pitches in 6⅔ scoreless innings.

He was spotting his 93-mph four-seam fastball expertly (12 called strikes) and using his cutter, a relatively new weapon for him, out of the same arm slot to great success. He also mixed in curveballs and changeups.

Wentz struck out five and the 17 balls the Royals put in play had an average exit velocity of 79.6 mph. A lot of soft contact.

Impressive stuff, especially considering he missed two months with a shoulder injury and made just four starts at Triple-A Toledo before his call-up, only one lasting as long as six innings.

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The Tigers beat up on Kansas City lefty Daniel Lynch for the second time in seven days. He gave up a couple of homers in the fifth inning at Comerica Park a week ago and repeated the feat in the second inning Friday.

Eric Haase led off the inning by sending a 2-0 fastball into the waterfall in left-center field — a 444-foot blast. It was his seventh straight hit dating back to Tuesday.

His hit streak was snapped in his next at-bat but he jumped a first-pitch slider from reliever Brad Keller in the sixth inning and whacked it 398 feet over that same wall. He’s got 12 homers on the season.

Last but not least, Haase dropped a two-out, RBI double down the right-field line in the eighth — three hits, three RBIs. In his last three games he’s produced three doubles and three home runs.

Jeimer Candelario, serving as the designated hitter, had himself a night, as well. In that same second inning, after Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter singled, he unloaded on anther 2-0 fastball from Lynch, hitting it 445 feet inside the foul pole in left.

He wasn’t done. He had three hits and finished a triple shy of a cycle. He singled and scored in a two-run fourth and doubled in the fifth.

Torkelson had three hits, as well. Riley Greene doubled and singled, scoring a run and knocking in a run.

The Tigers produced 17 hits.

cmccosky@detroitnews.com 

Twitter: @cmccosky

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