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Royals 7, Tigers 3: Faedo struggles, offense squanders

A short outing from the rookie put the club behind the eight ball early on and they couldn’t cash in their chances to seize control.

MLB: Game Two-Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

A short start and more wasted opportunities sank the Tigers in game two as Kansas City swept the doubleheader with a 7-3 victory in the nightcap.

Alex Faedo has really struggled since hitting a wall in mid-June, and he just had nothing for the opposition in this one. With the offense again struggling to come up with hits with runners on base, the result was a doubleheader sweep for the Royals.

Things started off pretty well, as Robbie Grossman reached on an error to start the game, and Javier Báez smoked a double to the center field wall to score him. With no outs, a man on second, and a run already in, the Tigers were in good shape. However, a ground out, strikeout, and fly out followed to squander the opportunity to put KC down early.

Alex Faedo came out and just had zero control. He walked MJ Melendez to start, wild pitched him to second, and then fell behind 2-0 to Bobby Witt Jr. The shortstop doubled to left and Melendez scored to tie the game at 1-1. Faedo walked Vinnie Pasquantino, and that brought Chris Fetter out to chat.

Faedo responded, striking out Hunter Dozier and Ryan O’Hearn on swinging strike threes, but Edward Olivares drew a walk, and Kyle Isbel worked a full count before lining out to end the inning. Only one run had scored, but Faedo had used 37 pitches. No one likes that, but especially for a guy only a half season removed from Tommy John territory, the length of the inning was pretty concerning.

Apart from a Willi Castro single, the Tigers went swiftly against Daniel Lynch in the second, and then things really started to crumble for the rookie right-hander.

Faedo gave up three straight out singles in the second, and then walked the bases loaded. With a run already in, Hunter Dozier lined out sharply to left and the runners held, but Faedo’s pitch count in the inning was already through the roof again, and AJ Hinch turned to Tyler Alexander. The lefty gave up a two-run single to Ryan O’Hearn that made it 4-1 Royals before shutting the door.

The Tigers got a leadoff single from Robbie Grossman in the third, but Báez drilled one to Olivares in left and Miguel Cabrera struck out. Eric Haase drew a walk to get Grossman into scoring position, but Jonathan Schoop bounced one back to Lynch for an easy out to end the threat.

Meanwhile, 2020-2021 Tyler Alexander was not in evidence once again as the lefty just could not fool anyone at all. Emmanuel Rivera opened the bottom of the third with a double and moved to third on a sac bunt from Nicky Lopez. Melendez lifted a sacrifice fly, Rivera scored, and it was 5-1 Royals. Witt and Pasquantino followed with a pair of singles to extend the inning, but Alexander got Hunter Dozier to ground out to turn them away.

The Tigers got a run back when Willi Castro started the fourth with a double. Spencer Torkelson lined out to left, not the first time the first baseman hit a laser right at an outfielder with runners on in this one, and Jeimer Candelario grounded one to shortstop than Witt couldn’t make a play on as Castro scored. Victor Reyes followed, hitting the ball solidly, but right to Dozier at first who easily stepped on the bag to double off Candelario and end the inning.

Finally in the bottom half, the Tigers got a quick inning as Alexander got a pair of ground outs and a fly out. That put Lynch back on the mound after a stressful inning without much of a rest. Robbie Grossman greeted him with a seven pitch battle that ended in a line drive single, and Lynch’s day was done, apparently due to the same blister issue that had seen him on the injured list until being activated to start this one. Jose Cuas took over, and Báez grounded into a force, replacing Grossman at first. However, Miguel Cabrera followed with a hard ground ball down the left field line for a double, with Báez racing around from first to score, and it was now 5-3 Royals.

That was about all we saw from either offense for a few innings. Alexander got three more outs in the bottom of the fifth, failing to record a single strikeout yet again. Angel Zerpa cruised through the Tigers in the top of the sixth, while Jason Foley took over for Detroit and needed just six pitches to retire the Royals in the bottom half.

Grossman tried to set the table again in the seventh, singling with one out and advancing to second on a wild pitch, but was stranded.

Joe Jiménez had the bottom of the seventh and absolutely overpowered the Royals with power and precision, striking out O’Hearn and Kyle Isbel along the way and spotting 97 mph with huge life to all edges of the zone. The big right-hander may turn out to be Al Avila’s best chip at the deadline.

Dylan Coleman took over for KC in the eighth, and the Tigers put together a threat quickly as Haase and Schoop singled to start things off. This would prove to be Detroit’s last chance to catch the Royals and turn this game around, and as you gathered from the score if you weren’t watching, it didn’t happen. Instead, Willi Castro got jammed, his bat shattering at the handle while a soft pop-up was allowed to drop in front of home plate by Coleman, who was trying the ol’ Ian Kinsler play to get the lead runner or try to turn a double play. The infield fly rule made that a moot point. Torkelson got a good pitch to hit and smoked a line drive that once again was right to an outfielder, this time O’Hearn in right. Candelario was rung up on a perfect slider at the bottom of the zone to strand both runners.

Alex Lange walked the leadoff man in the bottom half and then Nicky Lopez singled to third. Melendez grounded out to first, advancing both runners 90 feet, and then Witt lifted a pop-up over Schoop’s head that he just couldn’t haul in, scoring Rivera. Lange wild pitched Lopez home from third before getting it together to strike out Pasquantino. Dozier flew out to end the inning, but this one was now out of reach, and Scott Barlow shut the door with no trouble in the ninth.

After the game, the Tigers announced that Kody Clemens was optioned back to Triple-A Toledo, while Akil Baddoo has been recalled. The speedy outfielder has been on a strong run with the Mud Hens after finally getting over the oblique issue that hampered him early in the year. We’re pretty desperate for a spark, as the six-game winning streak has given way to a four-game losing streak with two more in KC to go.