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Apr 27, 2024 8:48 am

Tigers seek to ignite offense in rematch vs. surging Royals

Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers still are looking for their first run in their weekend showdown with American League Central rival Kansas City.

The Royals blanked the Tigers 8-0 on Friday afternoon as starter Seth Lugo and two relievers held Detroit to five hits. The second contest of the three-game series will be Saturday evening.

“He’s off to a good start this season because he knows how to pitch,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said of Lugo. “He knows how to disrupt timing, he knows how to pitch backwards where he can pitch to the margins and he’s very, very effective. I can see why his scoreboard numbers match his quality effort.”

Tigers starter Reese Olson was the hard-luck pitcher Friday, holding Kansas City to one run in seven innings. Detroit’s usually solid bullpen gave up seven runs in the ninth inning.

The Royals will carry a four-game winning streak into Saturday’s contest.

“It was a tough game for offense until the last inning,” manager Matt Quatraro said. “The starters did a heck of a job.”

Kansas City’s defense also played a role in keeping the Tigers scoreless. Right fielder Adam Frazier robbed Parker Meadows of a two-run homer in the third inning. Frazier then doubled up baserunner Javier Baez off first base to end the inning.

“It’s the difference between two runs and no runs,” Hinch said. “Javy gets doubled off there, and it looked like the wind held it up a little bit. He made a great play at a big moment.”

Solid pitching and defense have allowed the surprising Royals to go seven games above .500.

“I’m a fan of any good defense,” Quatraro said. “That’s how you win — you’ve got to play defense and you’ve got to pitch. So far, that’s something we’ve been good at.”

Right-hander Brady Singer (2-1, 2.76 ERA) will start for Kansas City on Saturday. Singer allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his first four starts. He gave up five in six innings during his last outing, against Toronto on Monday.

The Blue Jays scored on Bo Bichette’s three-run triple and Daulton Varsho’s two-run homer. Singer wound up with his first loss this season.

“I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to. But obviously, five runs is not what I want to do,” he said.

Singer traditionally has given the Tigers fits. He’s 6-1 with a 3.41 ERA in a dozen career starts against them.

Detroit starter Casey Mize (1-0, 2.95 ERA) is coming off his first victory since the 2021 season. The right-hander held Minnesota scoreless for six innings on Sunday. Mize allowed five hits and issued three walks but snuffed out numerous threats.

“It was a battle,” he said. “But if I leave the game and there are zeros in the run column, it’s hard not to be happy with that. I was happy to compete and give us a chance to win.”

Mize missed most of the 2022 campaign and all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

“He had to pitch through a little duress, even though it feels like a guy who throws six scoreless was in cruise control,” Hinch said. “Proud of his effort because it wasn’t as easy as his line is going to make it look.”

Mize is 2-1 with a 4.71 ERA in seven career starts against Kansas City.

–Field Level Media

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