Less than 24 hours after two big hitters, the Detroit Tigers failed to capitalize on a base-loaded opportunity in the fifth inning and walked too many batters in Sunday’s game.
The Tigers left the Kansas City Royals on Saturday thanks to back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning from Victor Reyes and Riley Greene. There was no ninth-inning heroics on Sunday, however, as the Tigers lost 7-4 in the series finals at Comerica Park.
“If you have a chance to beat a team in a series and you come out and don’t convert it, that’s the biggest problem,” said manager AJ Hinch when asked about his bullpen usage. “We just tried to win the series today.
“When you’re in the thick of the competition, I’m more upset that we didn’t win the series against a team that we have a good chance against and can compete with well. We didn’t do our job.”
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Left-hander Tarik Skubal allowed five of KC’s seven runs. He finished one less than five innings for the third straight start. Overall, Tigers pitchers allowed 11 hits and eight walks.
“I feel like I’m fighting myself a little bit,” Skubal said. “The command and the mechanics, sometimes you’re just fighting yourself, and I feel like that’s what I’m doing right now. I just need to be better at not doing that.”
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After the Tigers (30-47) hit two runs in the fifth inning and chased Royals starter Brady Singer, right-hander Jose Cuas stepped up to face Javier Báez with loaded bases and two outs.
Báez moved into right field when Whit Merrifield made a sliding catch.
“We had a lot of chances, not just Javy at-bat,” Hinch said. “We were lucky to get out of some messes. We could have been a lot lower. But we persevered a bit and had some big shots, but we weren’t perfect.”
The Tigers scored their third and fourth runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against righthand Dylan Coleman.
Kody Clemens hit a solo home run with a first-pitch fastball, and Tucker Barnhart doubled, advanced to third with a Greene groundout, then hit with a sacrificial fly from Reyes.
Clemens’ home run started with an initial speed of 105.1 mph, so he watched his second career homer fly while taking his time getting out of the batter’s box.
The Royals also scored in the seventh.
Right-hander Jason Foley passed Michael A. Taylor with two outs and loaded bases, giving the Royals a 6-2 lead at the top of seventh. Righty Will Vest replaced him, beating Emmanuel Rivera seven places to avoid further damage.
Right-hander Michael Fulmer allowed a run in ninth place.
Singer sews them together
Singer dominated the Tigers in four innings before getting into trouble in the fifth. He scored in the fourth quarter – Harold Castro, Báez and Willi Castro – and seemed on track to get deep into the game.
At least until the Tigers forced Singer to throw 37 pitches in his last inning.
“We waited for him a little bit throughout the game and put a lot of pressure on him in the fifth and took him out of the game,” Hinch said, “but in our early game at bats he was in complete control.”
Spencer Torkelson received an inside fastball in a full count against Singer in the fifth. He tackled it, driving the ball 376 feet and over the left center wall for a two-barrel home run and scoring Jeimer Candelario.
Despite this, the Tigers were 5-2 behind.
The blast was Torkelson’s fifth of his career and his first since May 18 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field – a span of 129 plate appearances between homers.
“I thought he was going to keep going to that sinker inside because it was a runner first and I double-played it before that in the at-bat,” Torkelson said. “I had that in the back of my mind. But I just tried to fight with two shots and I was rewarded.”
After Torkelson’s home run, Clemens worked on a seven-pitch walk. Singer dropped a single to Reyes despite consecutive outs and went on eight pitches with Harold Castro.
The Castro walk ended Singer’s outing. He allowed two runs with six hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in 4⅔ innings and threw 97 pitches.
Unlike Singer, Skubal wasn’t as perceptive.
As of Sunday, Skubal had given up 18 runs over 18⅓ innings in his last four starts. The 25-year-old allowed the Royals five runs with five hits and three walks with a strikeout in 4⅔ innings.
Skubal has a 9.00 ERA – 23 runs over 23 innings – in his last five starts. He had a 2.33 ERA in his first 11 starts.
“I’m the same guy,” Skubal said. “It’s just that the results are different. I feel like I’m on the verge of figuring out some things. Some things just take time and I’m going through that right now.”
Crown jewels shine early
The Royals scored three runs ahead of Skubal in the second inning.
Edward Olivares started the frame with a solo home run to the left on a slider near the top of the strike zone.
The next batter, Vinnie Pasquantino, drew a seven-pitch walk. He hit on a one-out, two-run homer by Emmanuel Rivera, who crushed a 92-mph two-strike four-seam fastball to left center.
The Royals were 3-0 up.
“I don’t really care,” Skubal said. “I don’t really care about home runs. To be honest, it’s important to me to put my team in a position to win and I haven’t done that.”
Skubal threw nine pitches in the first inning, 28 pitches in the second, 12 pitches in the third, nine pitches in the fourth, and 31 pitches (for two outs) in the fifth.
The Royals didn’t tag Skubal hard (83.8mph average exit speed), but they took advantage of his poor temper by digging deep into the count before either drawing walks or making mistakes.
“It’s a bit of a mechanical thing that we talked about,” Barnhart said. “I think the better he holds his pitches, the more consistent they are. … I think it’s just a simple mechanical tweak that will help him.”
In the fifth, Skubal Merrifield went eight places to corner runners with two outs. Benintendi increased the Royals’ lead to four runs with an RBI double to left field.
“The walk to Merrifield wasn’t actually a bad walk because I had a left-hander on deck,” Skubal said. “I tried to pitch, but I tried to pitch my pitches. … I didn’t mind facing Benintendi in that situation.”
Kansas City recorded its fifth heat after right-hander Wily Peralta replaced Skubal with two runners in the scoring position. Peralta walked consecutive batters, including one with the bases loaded for Skubal’s last run.
For his 89 pitches (56 strikes), Skubal threw 23 sliders (26%), 22 two-seam fastballs (25%), 21 four-seam fastballs (24%), 20 changeups (22%), and three curveballs (3%). . ).
He recorded just seven swings and misses and only two with his slider. With his four-sailer he has not strapped anything.
Skubal’s four-seam fastball averaged 92.8 mph, a significant drop from his 94.1 mph average this season. His slider averaged 88.4 mph, also below his 2022 average of 89.7 mph.
Running without showing anything
In the third inning, Greene singled on an opposite field line to left field. The 21-year-old rookie appeared to steal second base and advance to third with a wild throw from Royals catcher Gallagher.
But Reyes negated the stolen base. As he swung out of the inning for the second time, Reye’s bat touched Gallagher’s gloved arm. Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez ordered batter interference and sent Greene back to first.
Four pitches later – with Harold Castro at the plate – Greene started second again and was declared safe by second base umpire Mark Carlson. However, the royals questioned the call. After the review, Greene was called out to finish the inning.
He remains on a stolen base in his 13-game career.
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