DETROIT – Not many teams have figured out how to pitch to the Detroit Tigers this season.
The Kansas City Royals are one of the few.
The Royals seek a third straight win over the Tigers on Saturday night at Comerica Park.
Kansas City pulled within 6 1/2 games of AL Central-leading Detroit after Friday’s doubleheader sweep.
“We wanted to come in here and make a statement against these guys,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Danny Duffy and three relievers two-hit the Tigers in a 2-1 win in the opener and James Shields and two relievers combined on a four-hitter in 3-0 victory in the second game.
“You play 18 innings against a team like that and give up one run, you’re doing something special,” Yost said.
Kansas City has handed high-powered Detroit three of its four lowest hit totals of the season.
“It’s not a concern. We got what we got. It’s pretty simple,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Both teams got great pitching, and we didn’t must enough offense.”
The Tigers (71-51) rank second in the majors in runs (614) and fifth in home runs (141), but have been powerless against the Royals. Detroit is hitting .238 with five home runs in going 4-7 against Kansas City, with the Royals (64-57) boasting a 2.45 team ERA.
Miguel Cabrera is batting .263 with two homers and two doubles against Kansas City, while Torii Hunter is hitting .186 with 11 strikeouts in the season series.
Cabrera, however, has had some success against scheduled starter Wade Davis (6-9, 5.29 ERA), going 5 for 14 with two homers and double.
Hunter is hitless in six at-bats against Davis this season, but Omar Infante is 5 for 5.
Davis is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last three starts after posting a 10.91 ERA in losing his previous four.
The right-hander gave up seven runs – three earned – over 3 2-3 innings in a 7-5 loss in Detroit on April 24, and allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings against the Tigers on June 11.
The Tigers turn to Doug Fister (10-6, 3.60), who allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings in Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox – his first defeat in nine starts. The right-hander was 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his previous four outings.
“I think it was a combination of he didn’t have his real good curveball or his command,” Leyland told the team’s official site. “I thought that pretty much summed it up.”
Fister is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two stats against the Royals this season and has shut down the heart of Kansas City’s batting order, as Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer are a combined 3 for 21.
Hosmer, who is batting .316 since May 19, hit two home runs Friday after having just one in 21 prior games.
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