The Detroit Tigers will try to produce their second three-game winning streak of the season on Wednesday.
They took the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals on Tuesday despite giving away a seven-run lead in the late going. Robbie Grossman, who drove in five runs, ripped a game-winning single into right field in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 victory.
“We didn’t want to go down that way,” Grossman said. “That would have been a long night. I’m glad we came through and that ball got through.”
Kansas City, which has lost nine straight, scored seven runs in the last two innings. Jorge Soler drove in six of them with a three-run homer and a three-run double.
“We played well tonight,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “I know it doesn’t feel that way because the game got really close there, but I was proud of our effort.”
Hinch has a problem behind the plate. His top catcher, Wilson Ramos, is on the injured list with a back injury. Backup Grayson Greiner could be headed there as well after leaving Tuesday’s contest due to hamstring tightness. The next man up is light-hitting Jake Rogers, and the team will have to look for another option as well.
“I’m not optimistic that he’s going to avoid the injured list,” Hinch said of Greiner. “It’s really hard at that position, especially a lower-extremity injury. Initially, I don’t think it’s that bad, but I think it’s going to be bad enough for us to consider a roster move.”
Soler hit 48 homers in 2019 but has been struggling at the plate this season. His power outburst was a major bright spot, even though the Royals’ losing streak continued.
He had just two homers coming into the contest. He nearly had two in as many innings, as his double almost went over the center field fence.
“That’s the hitter we know he is,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “I know that it’s been frustrating for him that we haven’t seen it often enough. He’s an impressive talent. I can’t believe that ball didn’t get out, honestly. But he did a great job of getting us back in it.”
Danny Duffy (4-2, 1.26 ERA) will start the middle game of the three-game series for the Royals. He recorded a victory in Detroit on April 25, tossing five scoreless innings and striking out eight.
He took the loss in his last outing on Thursday, giving up three runs in 5 2/3 innings to Cleveland.
In 30 career outings — 26 starts — against the Tigers, Duffy is 9-10 with a 4.63 ERA. Detroit first baseman/designated hitter Miguel Cabrera has 49 official at-bats against Duffy but has never homered off the left-hander.
Casey Mize (1-3, 4.41 ERA) will start the game for Detroit. Mize endured his worst outing of the season against the Royals on April 23, surrendering six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Mize’s only career victory came in Houston on April 12, but he delivered a quality outing on May 5 in Boston, holding the Red Sox to one run on three hits in six innings.
–Field Level Media