The last week of regular season baseball, and given the Tigers record, it’s the end of the season period this week, but hey, the Tigers are home, it’s Miggy’s last stand, and these guys are going to have themselves a fun time finishing off 2023.
Reese Olson squared off against everyone’s favorite beloved weirdo Zack Greinke (he may be a Royal, but if he retires after this season, I’m going to miss him).
In the first Maikel Garcia hit a leadoff single, then Bobby Witt Jr got a walk to put two on. Garcia was caught stealing third, but Witt Jr successfully made it to second on the double steal attempt. The Royals left a man stranded, though. Parker Meadows singled to start the Tigers’ half but was tagged out by Greinke at first. Originally called safe, the call was overturned on review. The Tigers lost their only baserunner for the inning.
Nelson Velazquez reached on a throwing error from Olson, and then with two outs Velazquez was able to reach second on an Olson wild pitch. A Nick Pratto single scored the runner and put KC on the board first. Kyle Isbel walked and Nick Pratto advanced to third on a balk, but they only managed the one run. The Tigers went down in order in the bottom half.
Witt Jr singled to start the third, but was caught stealing and the Royals only managed the one baseunner. The Tigers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third.
Top of the fourth and Olson had a nice 1-2-3, but the Tigers only managed a Spencer Torkelson walk in the bottom half, and scored no runs.
In the fifth the Royals were once again three-up-three-down. Ditto the Tigers in hte bottom half.
Onto the sixth and Bobby Witt Jr hit a leadoff triple. A Salvador Perez single brought him around putting the Royals up 2-0. With two outs, Olson was replaced by Tyler Holton. Olson’s final line for the night was 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K on 92 pitches. Holton got the final out of the inning. Greinke was also done for the night, replaced by Anthony Veneziano. Carson Kelly got a one-out walk, then Parker Meadows reached on a fielder’s choice. Spencer Torkelson doubled to score Kelly and Meadows, tying up the game.
In the top of the seventh the Royals went 1-2-3. In the bottom half Andy Ibanez drew a one-out walk but two subsequent outs left him stranded.
Maikel Garcia started out the eighth against new reliever Jason Foley and got a walk. A double play helped balance things out for Foley. Salvador Perez singled, but one out later the inning was scoreless for the Royals. The bottom of the eighth was the Tigers moment to shine. Akil Baddoo came in as a pinch-hitter, and then on the first pitch he saw he smashed a solo home run to center. Immediately after that, Parker Meadows homered to basically the same spot. Matt Vierling very nearly hit a certain double or triple, but Kyle Isbel made a pretty incredible catch for the out. Kerry Carpenter singled, then Miguel Cabrera walked. Tyler Nevin came in as a pinch-runner. Andy Ibanez singled to score Carpenter, and was replaced by Zack Short. Zach McKinstry singled to score Nevin, but McKintsry got caught in a rundown to end the inning, but oh my my it was fun.
Beau Brieske was out of the pen for the Tigers in the ninth. Michael Massey got a one-out single, then was eliminated in a force out off the bat of Drew Waters. Waters advanced to second on defensive indifference. Nick Loftin then singled to score Waters. Brieske then wrapped it up with the final out and the Tigers took the first game of the series.
Final: Tigers 6, Royals 3