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Tigers 3, Royals 0: Michael Lorenzen dominates yet again

Another seven inning gem from the All-Star right-hander carried the Tigers to a series victory in KC.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Who has the longest scoreless innings streak in MLB? That’s right, it is Michael Lorenzen. The All-Star right-hander three-hit the Royals over seven innings of scoreless work, and the offense got just enough down to take the four-game set in Kansas City on Thursday.

This one started pretty quietly. A one-out single from Riley Greene in the top of the first was followed by a double play ball from Spencer Torkelson, while Michael Lorenzen had a snappy 1-2-3 frame in the bottom half.

The back half of the order put together some good two-out ABs against Zack Greinke in the top of the second. Nick Maton lined a single into right field and Akil Baddoo drew a walk. A little bliner that dropped in front of MJ Melendez in left off the bat of Andy Ibáñez scored Maton, and Eric Haase followed with a sharp single to plate Baddoo. Zach McKinstry, leading off and playing right field, lined out to second to end the scoring but it was 2-0 Tigers.

Lorenzen got into a bit of trouble with one-out in the bottom half but worked through it. Edward Olivares grounded a single up the middle and Nick Pratto drew a walk. Michael Massey grounded into a force of Pratto at second, and Lorenzen got Drew Waters to fly out to strand two baserunners.

Both clubs went quickly in the third, and another two-out walk to Baddoo was all the Tigers managed in the top of the fourth. Melendez doubled with one out in the bottom half against Lorenzen. A set of breaking ball down and away got Olivares to ground out, moving Melendez to third with two outs. Lorenzen missed with a fastball and a changeup to fall behind Pratto 2-0, but he bounced back to strike him out on a foul tip.

Austin Cox took over from Greinke in the fifth, which was odd with Greinke’s pitch count still very low. Eric Haase grounded out, but McKinstry lashed a triple into the right field corner. Cox, a lefty, walked Riley Greene and then Torkelson did the job, lifting a fly ball to left deep enough for McKinstry to tag and score. 3-0 Tigers.

Jonathan Heasley took over for the top of the sixth and retired the Tigers in order. In the bottom of the sixth, with one out, Kyle Isbel striped a double to right field, but a fine relay from McKinstry to Báez to Nick Maton at third cut him down trying to stretch it. Lorenzen once again would go six innings or more.

Jose Cuas replaced Heasley in the top of the seventh. Ibáñez greeted him with a single through the right side of the infield. Haase struck out, but McKinstry walked after a seven pitch duel with Cuas, which is a good sign for Zach, and that brought Riley Greene to the dish with Torkelson and Carpenter behind him. Greene had a pretty awful AB, striking out on three pitches. Torkelson got a sinker middle away over the plate and pulled a ground ball to third to end the inning.

Lorenzen started the seventh at 80 pitches. Melendez smoked a fly ball to Greene in center for the first out. Olivares popped up a fourseamer for the second out, and Pratto grounded out to end the inning.

Another superb outing from Michael Lorenzen who gets his ERA down to 3.49 with his fourth start of seven innings. He allowed one run in each of the other three, and also has three more outings where he went 6 23 innings. Just chewing up innings and making it really tough on hitters by limiting the walks and the homers. Be nice to bring Lorenzen back next year, but right now he’s looking like a nice trade chip for a host of different teams needing a durable, quality starter who won’t cost an arm and a leg in trade.

Also, this is a nice middle finger to everyone who scoffed at him pitching in the All-Star game. Michael is too nice to actually give said middle fingers, but hey we’ll do it. Ok, in fairness his ERA was in the mid-4’s at the time.

Nick Wittgren retired the Tigers in order in the top of the eighth. So now it was time to see if the bullpen could hold up two days in a row.

AJ Hinch went with Tyler Holton in the eighth with the lefty Massey leading off and Drew Waters typically more powerful from the left side. Holton continued his dominance —thanks Diamondbacks — popping up Massey and Duffy while Waters flew out to Baddoo in left.

Hinch turned to Jason Foley to wrap up this game, and the series, in the ninth. He fell behind Maikel Garcia and allowed a leadoff single, but Isbel against smoked a fly ball out to Greene in center field, and Salvador Perez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end it.