Another night, another win by the Detroit Tigers, another stellar night from JaCoby Jones. Jones would collect three hits tonight, two doubles, and the game winning home run, to power the Tigers past the Kansas City Royals. Things looked like they might go the other way early, but the Tigers would make adjustments to dig out of an early hole, and the bullpen would stand strong, as the Tigers would win by a final score of 5-4.
Matthew Boyd struggled to keep the Royals batters off his pitches early in the game. From a leadoff double by Whit Merrified, through an RBI single from Ryan McBroom, the Royals hitters were picking up on the offerings from Boyd’s left hand with annoying consistency.
Through the first three innings, Boyd threw a fastball and slider heavy offering, but the Royals were able to put up eight hits and four runs. They picked up on the slider and laid off the non-hanging ones, while timing up the fastball, putting most of the balls in play off of the heater.
To Boyd’s credit he battled through it with good command, issuing no walks in his outing. He started mixing in his curveball more and it made all the difference, as the Royals could only manage one hit over Boyd’s final two innings. Boyd’s final line was a testament to his resilience and mid game adjustments: 5IP, 9H, 4ER, 0BB, 6K.
Meanwhile, Danny Duffy was fooling Tiger hitters early and often, opening the game by striking out the first four Tiger batters. The Tigers didn’t pick up their first hit until the third inning, when JaCoby Jones roped a double to the left field wall, which was preceded by a Grayson Greiner hit by pitch. Greiner would score on a sacrifice fly from Jonathan Schoop.
The Tigers offense would really come alive in the fifth inning and break through against Duffy. Victor Reyes led off with a walk and Jones followed with another double to put two in scoring position. Goodrum brought home another run on a sacrifice fly, and then Schoop tied the game with an opposite field, two-run home run, which just got over the glove of a leaping Merrifield at the right field wall.
That’s the way things stood until the bottom of the seventh when the Tigers early season MVP, JaCoby Jones, put a very compact, Miguel Cabrera-looking stroke on an Ian Kennedy cutter, driving it just over the right field wall for the game winning home run.
While Jones starred on offense, it was the Tigers bullpen who impressed again with several lockdown innings. John Schriber worked a 1-2-3 sixth, thanks to an overturned play call at first which was changed to an out. Bryan Garcia worked a clean seventh inning, and Buck Farmer would navigate the eighth smoothly. Joe Jimenez took the mound in in the ninth and quickly retired the side in order to sustain his major league lead in saves. Combined, the Tigers bullpen set down the final twelve batters in order, not even allowing a hit to Merrifield.
The Tigers will look to close out the series tomorrow at 7:10 p.m. ET. Ivan Nova is on the hill for the Tigers, while rookie right-hander Brady Singer will take the ball for the Royals.