Pop Quiz Time! Who holds the record for most hits by a Venezuelan born player in MLB history? If you guessed, Omar Vizquel, you would have been correct until about two hours ago. Next when was the last time the Tigers won a series? You’d have to think back a month ago, at least you did until about 15 minutes ago as Soto got the final out to cap off a 4-2 Tigers win over the Royals.
Casey Mize turned in another quality start in this one, his third straight. He battled some wildness in the first inning, letting the first two Royals on with a hit-by-pitch and a walk, then he gave up a double that had some fans worrying if he would recover or roll over tonight. Fortunately, it was the former, as he set down the next three batters allowing only a sacrifice fly. That proved to be the final run the Royals would score tonight.
From the second through the sixth inning, he would scatter just two hits along with 3 strikeouts. He wasn’t dominant but his fastball was moving, getting seven swings and misses. He only threw six splitters tonight, an ongoing change from his former fastball/splitter heavy repertoire. He leaned on the fastball and slider to keep the Royals off balance for most of the night. There were a couple hard hit balls but his defense backed him up and converted most of the hard contact into outs.
On the bottom side of the innings the Tigers bats started quiet, as they were retired on eight pitches by Duffy in the first inning. They kicked things into gear in the second inning and started making Duffy work. After an overturned call on a diving stop and throw play from Hunter Dozier off the bat of Nomar Mazara that put two on with one out, JaCoby Jones singled home a run to put the Tigers on the board. In the third inning, Schoop and Candelario got on with one out for Miguel Cabrera and he laced a line drive to left to tie the game and tie Omar Vizquel for 43rd on the all time hits list with 2,877. It also tied him with Vizquel for most hits by a Venezuelan born hitter in MLB history. He would pickup a second hit in the fifth inning to break both ties.
Speaking of the fifth inning, Robbie Grossman got things going again with a lead off triple on a drive to Jorge Soler who dove and missed. Grossman would score the game winning run on a double from Candelario who smoked a ball to center field over the head of Jarrod Dyson. Miggy’s afore mentioned tie-breaking single would plate Candelario to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead. For good measure, after driving home the run, Miggy swiped second on a passed ball by Salvador Perez. Clearly he was feeling it tonight. And those nights tend to be good night for the Tigers.
The bullpen would ensure it was a happy night for Tigers fans as they secured the Tiger’s third straight win with lock down innings from Norris, Fulmer, and Soto. It’s their second time winning three straight games this year, last time being their series sweep in Houston on April 12-14. They also secured their first series win since that same series. Might as well go for the sweep now, right?