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Tigers 6, Royals 4: Carpenter’s blast sparks late rally

A five run seventh inning gives Tigers a comeback win after being shutdown most of the night.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

For most of the game, the Detroit Tigers couldn’t figure out Jordan Lyles, a pitcher with an 0-11 record and an ERA over 9 on the road. And for a while it looked like they might give him his first win on the year. But thanks to a solid start from Reece Olson and some clutch hitting immediately after Lyles exited the game, the Tigers put up a five-run bottom of the seventh en route to a 6-4 win to open the series with the Kansas City Royals.

Both teams traded mostly uneventful innings until the fourth frame started. Olson looked sharp early, mixing his fastball and slider to rack up four strikeouts in the first two innings. the Royals collected two hits against him in the third but a strikeout and a double play ended the threat. But in the fourth inning, Bobby Witt Jr got around on his fastball and deposited it over the left field fence for a solo home run. He walked MJ Melendez with one out and then Maikel Garcia took a slider at the bottom of the zone and turned it into his second home run of the year and just like that, the Tigers were down 3-0.

Olson managed to right the ship in the fifth inning and looked like he would work around a two-out double, and he got Witt to ground to shortstop but Zack Short bounced the throw and Torkelson couldn’t pick the hop which allowed the runner to score, making it a 4-0 game after five innings

Meanwhile, the Tigers were facing a starting pitcher that was 0-11 and hadn’t given up less than three runs in 12 of his 14 starts but he looked like an ace as he scattered two hits and one walk in his first four innings with two strikeouts on just 50 pitches. While the rest of the league typically has success swinging early in the count vs Lyles, the only thing the Tigers could do was keep his pitch count low as they hit medium-depth fly balls when they put it in play.

The Tigers finally got on the board in the fifth inning thanks to a single from Jake Rogers, and then a shallow two-out flyball from Zack McKinstry that fell in, but was badly misplayed by Edward Oliveres, which allowed Rogers to score. But, in what was the epitome of the Tiger’s effort against Lyles, Torkelson swung on the first pitch and popped it up to end the inning.

Olson came out for the sixth inning and managed to cap off his night with another strikeout and a 1-2-3 inning on 100 pitches. Overall it was a decent night as he leaned on his fastball and slider with a sprinkling of changeups and sinkers to keep the Royals flailing most of the night. But when he missed with his locations he was hit hard, with the Royals piling up eight hard-hit balls in his outing. His final line: 100 pitches, 6 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 6 H, BB, 8 K.

The Tigers finally started to break through against Lyles in the bottom of the seventh inning when Miguel Cabrera flared a single over the infield and Jonathan Schoop roped a double off the wall to put two in scoring position with no one out and end the night for Lyles. The Tigers could not have been happier to see him exit, as Jake Rogers flicked a line-drive single to left off new pitcher, Taylor Clarke, to left to score the runners and bring the Tigers within a run.

Short popped out and McKinstry worked the count to eventually draw a walk (thanks to an absolute gift of a call on a perfectly located pitch down in the zone) to bring up Torkelson who also worked the count but this time the umpire called him out on a pitch at the bottom of the zone. Torkelson blew up to a degree we haven’t seen before at the call, but it could’ve gone either way. We like the fire anyway, Spencer. That brought up Kerry Carpenter who got a 2-2 change-up right down the heart of the plate and blasted it 381ft to right field for a three-run shot to give the Tigers a 6-4 lead.

Tyler Alexander, who had taken over for Olson the previous inning and struck out two, gave the Tigers a second scoreless inning of work, though he worked around a walk and single, stranding them with the help of a couple more strikeouts. The Tigers went quietly in the bottom of the eighth inning to send things to the ninth and AJ Hinch went right to Alex Lange.

Lange rewarded his manager with a quick 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off the comeback win and send the fans home happy. With the first game secure, the Tigers will look to take the series tomorrow and set up a chance for the sweep when they send Michael Lorenzen to the mound to take on Daniel Lynch.


Scott Harris met with the media before the game and had some things to say about the season and specific players. Here were some of the highlights.