Behind some unexpected heroics, the Detroit Tigers took the rubber match in their series at Kauffman Stadium against the Kansas City Royals by a final of 6-4. In addition to another good night from Riley Greene, big hits from Zack Short and Jonathan Schoop proved to be the difference.
The Tigers got the scoring started in the fourth inning when Greene launched a one-out home run into the fountain in right center field. For Greene, that was his fifth of the year as he continued his torrid month of May.
The Royals struck back in the bottom half of the inning. Matthew Boyd cruised through the first three frames, but in the fourth he loaded the bases with one out, and then went to work doing his best Houdini impression to escape with minimal damage. A Bobby Witt Jr. single, a walk to Nick Pratto, and hitting Edward Olivares with a pitch put the Royals in a prime position to take the lead, but Boyd didn’t give in. He got MJ Melendez to ground into a force out that scored Witt, and then struck out Freddy Fermin to keep the game tied at one.
Boyd only lasted 4.2 innings, but gave up one run and struck out six Royals hitters. Will Vest came in with runners on the corners and two outs in the fifth inning, and induced a lineout from Witt to hold the score.
In the top half of the sixth, Greene stayed hot with a double to right field to lead off the inning. A one out single by Matt Vierling, a ground ball that was placed in the right spot inside the first base foul line, put runners on the corners for pinch hitter Zack Short. After a brief conference on the mound to deliver the scouting report to reliever Josh Taylor, Short took the first pitch he saw and drilled it 416 feet into the crowd in left-center field to put Detroit up 4-1.
Kansas City got a run back in the seventh inning off of Chasen Shreve, but the Tigers responded in the eighth. Spencer Torkelson led off with a bloop double to center field, and then a walk to Short set the stage for Jonathan Schoop with two outs. Without an RBI on the year and having already struck out three times in the game, what Schoop did next had to feel great. In a 2-0 count, Schoop smoked a fastball to the left-center field gap to drive in two runs and put the Tigers ahead 6-2.
Jason Foley got four outs between the seventh and eighth innings, but gave up a run to pull the score to 6-3, but Alex Lange came on in the ninth and slammed the door, though not before allowing another run. Lange now has 9 saves this season, though his scoreless streak ended at 17 innings, which was the longest active streak in baseball. Good game to break that streak in. Time to start another one.
The Tigers now come home to welcome in the somewhat surging Chicago White Sox for four before the Texas Rangers come to town early next week.