A fairly tense, well-played game was in the end decided by a strong night from the Tigers bullpen as they made an early lead hold up to win 4-3 in Kansas City. In the process, they ended a five game losing streak.
It helped that they got out to an early lead. Singles from Harold Castro, Miguel Cabrera, and Niko Goodrum plated a run in the first inning, and brought Austin Romine to the dish with a chance for more. The Tigers catcher needed a big hit after a rough month with the bat, and he came though, doubling over the head of center fielder Edward Olivares to put the Tigers up 3-0. Derek Hill followed with a single for his first RBI hit, but Romine foolishly challenged Alex Gordon and may go down as the final runner thrown out at home by the Royals left fielder, who has announced his impending retirement.
Matthew Boyd had an uncharacteristically normal outing, allowing three runs in six innings of work. He collected only three strikeouts against two walks, and he got some defensive help, but the contact was relatively weak overall. He did get the obligatory solo shot out of the way early, with Adalberto Mondesi ambushing an 0-0 fastball in the bottom of the first to make it 3-1.
Daz Cameron lashed a single to lead off the second inning, and did his best to play some mind games with Royals’ starter Carlos Hernández. An errant pickoff throw allowed Cameron to reach second. A batter later, Willi Castro came through with a groundball through the right side of the infield to score the run. However, Castro injured himself during the AB and had to leave the game. Reports indicate a trip to the injured list with a shoulder injury, ending his season just a bit early.
Willi Castro will be placed on injured list to make room for a roster move, likely Sergio Alcantara, who's in KC on taxi squad. Still some hope Harold Castro might be available tomorrow.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 27, 2020
Harold Castro also had to come out of the game after striking out in the fourth inning. He grimaced and appeared to indicate his back or an oblique, but as yet his status is unknown.
Boyd had trouble with the top of the Royals order the second time through. Whit Merrifield and Mondesi started things off with one out. Merrifield singled and took second on an error, and Mondesi followed with a double to score him. Maikel Franco later singled to score Mondesi, but Boyd was able to escape the inning still holding a slim 4-3 lead. On the whole, Boyd didn’t get many whiffs at all, but mixed in his changeup effectively and was able to keep the ball out of the seats a second time.
The Tigers bullpen was up to the challenge with one of their better recent outings.
Joe Jimenez got the first out in the seventh on a screaming liner straight to Derek Hill, who made his first major league start tonight, in center field. Merrifield then split the gap in left-center field and aggressively took second base as the the tying run. Jimenez has blown up any number of times this season, but has had better command and stuff recently and was able to escape the jam. He got down 2-0 to Mondesi, and then threw possibly the best six consecutive sliders of his career to strike both Mondesi and Salvador Perez out and end the inning.
In the eighth, Jose Cisnero continued to make his case as the Tigers best reliever with a pretty dominant inning. Bryan Garcia allowed a leadoff single to Alex Gordon in the ninth, but pinch runner Nick Heath was cut down trying to steal by Erik Haase. Olivares then reached on a bunt to third, but Garcia settled down and retired Ryan O’Hearn and Merrifield to record the save.
-The Tigers rookies all had a hit tonight. Willi Castro, Isaac Paredes, Derek Hill, and Daz Cameron each collected a single.
-Castro’s season ends with 1.3 fWAR accumulated in just 35 games. That currently has him second among rookies in the American League to Seattle’s Kyle Lewis, and third in baseball.