KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After the Detroit Tigers lost their second straight game to open the second half on Saturday night, falling behind the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central standings with their ace on the hill, Matthew Boyd initiated a team meeting.
Boyd, the breakout left-hander who has garnered interest on the trade market, had just been beaten by ground balls past the outstretched gloves of infielders, and beaten himself by walking the baserunners who scored.
He may or may not be a Tiger in a few weeks; it didn’t change his standing inside the Tigers’ clubhouse, where he spoke of playing hard with energy, regardless of how things are going. Keep working hard, and the results will come.
Then came Sunday, with seven runs in the top of the third inning, and eventually, a series-ending win against the Royals (32-62) on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. The Tigers’ offense broke through and then , continued adding on to back another brutal pitching line from right-hander Jordan Zimmermann in a 12-8 win.
In the win, the Tigers (29-59) set a season-high in runs (12) and hits (19). Infielder Harold Castro — who has started the second half hot — recorded his first-ever four-hit game, Niko Goodrum snapped out of a slump with four hits of his own and the entire starting lineu contributed.
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Trailing by two runs in the top of the third — Zimmermann had allowed an RBI single and a two-run home run in the first after Nicholas Castellanos and Christin Stewart opened the scoring with back-to-back two-out doubles — the Tigers put their first five men on base before Jeimer Candelario cleared the bases with a double and Gordon Beckham hit a two-run home run.
But, staked with a six-run lead, Zimmermann would give much of it back before being pulled with out getting an out in the fifth inning. Zimmermann, pitching without an effective slider, allowed four hits to open the inning. The veteran left with the Tigers ahead, 10-6.
Zimmermann allowed seven runs on eight hits in four-plus innings, with no walks and two strikeouts. His ERA this season is 7.01 in 52 ⅔ innings.
The Tigers’ offensive outburst overshadowed the relief work of lefty Nick Ramirez, who took over for Zimmermann and ended the inning on three pitches, inducing a groundball double play, though a run scored on the play.
But on a hot and humid day — it was 89 degrees at first pitch with a stiff breeze blowing out to left field — the Tigers kept the offensive pressure going, adding two runs in the seventh. The first came on a single by Castro, who then scored two batters later on a charitably ruled double by Brandon Dixon. Dixon’s a routine fly ball was dropped by Alex Gordon in left-center field after a miscommunication with the center fielder.
Castro is hitting .315 in 111 at-bats. Goodrum — who struck out in his first at-bat, extending his streak to five at-bats with a whiff since the All-Star break — posted his second four-hit game of the season. Leadoff hitter Victor Reyes reached base twice and scored each time. In all, the Tigers had their best offensive day of the season, and they did it without Miguel Cabrera in the lineup.
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