DETROIT (AP) — Harold Castro singled in the winning run with two outs in the 10th inning after tying it with a two-run single in the eighth in the Detroit Tigers’ 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Tucker Barnhart bunted pinch-runner Ryan Kreidler to third and Anthony Misiewicz (3-2) intentionally walked pinch-hitter Eric Haase.
Riley Greene struck out, and the Royals decided to walk Javy Báez to pitch to Castro with the bases loaded. He hit a soft grounder up the middle to win it.
“We were getting in the shower as soon as they walked Javy,” Spencer Torkelson said. “It was like, ‘All right, we’re getting to Hittin’ Harold.′ We have all the confidence in the world.”
Baez has struck out 143 times this year, including in a key situation in the eighth, but Royals manager Mike Matheny said he never considered pitching to him with the left-handed Misiewicz on the mound.
“We were going to make their lefties beat us,” he said. “Baez is a right-handed hitter who hits lefties really well. Anthony made a good pitch — (catcher Salvador Perez) was going down to block hit, but (Castro) got a piece of it.”
Castro also helped with his glove. In the top of the 10th, Bobby Witt Jr. led off with a bouncer down the third-base line. Castro made a diving stop and, while he didn’t have a play on Witt, was able to hold automatic runner MJ Melendez at second.
Alex Lange (6-4) retired Salvador Perez before getting Vinnie Pasquatino to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
The Tigers trailed 3-0 after seven innings against Zack Greinke, then tied it against Dylan Coleman in the eighth.
Torkelson started the inning with a walk, then beat third baseman Nate Eaton’s throw to second on a groundball. After Tucker Barnhart lined out, Akil Baddoo’s bunt single loaded the bases. Riley Greene grounded softly to Eaton, but his throw home pulled Salvador Perez off the bag.
Báez struck out, but Castro lined a 2-2 pitch to left for a tying single. Carlos Hernández came in to retire Miguel Cabrera to keep it tied.
“If you want a single, Harold is the guy you want up there,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He does an incredible job of getting a piece of the ball and getting it onto the outfield grass. (Torkelson) made a couple nice baserunning plays in that inning and Akil got down that bunt on his own.”
Greinke allowed four singles and a walk.
“Zack pitched a vintage Zack game today,” Matheny said. “I don’t even look at the velocity when he’s pitching — it is all about pitch shape for him. I just watch how the hitters are reacting to him.”
Tigers starter Joey Wentz allowed three runs in five innings.
The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the second on Dozier’s home run — his 10th in 32 career games at Comerica Park and extended the margin to 3-0 on Nate Eaton’s RBI triple in the fourth.
“I have no idea why I hit so well here,” said Dozier, who has only homered once against the Tigers at home. “I like this park – it’s a fun place to play – so maybe I see the ball better here. I don’t really know.”
Kansas City could have given Greinke a bigger lead. After stranding runners in scoring position in the first two innings, Edward Oliveres hit a two-out double that would have easily scored Vinnie Pasquatino from first, but the ball hopped over the fence for a ground-rule double and Dozier struck out.
In the fourth, Eaton was on third with one out after his triple, but second baseman Jonathan Schoop made a spectacular play to snag MJ Melendez’s line drive, spin and throw to third for an inning-ending double play.
“We had a couple chances to score more runs, but we still got the game to the situation we wanted,” Matheny said. “We had a runner on second and our 2-3-4 hitters coming up in the 10th. We just didn’t get it done.”
GREINKE AGAINST DETROIT
The bullpen cost Greinke his 14th win against the Tigers, which would have matched the most he has against any team — he has 14 against the Rockies, Padres and Giants. He picked up the first 13 wins against Detroit early in his career, last beating the Tigers on Sept. 9, 2012, while with the Angels. His 2.36 ERA at Comerica Park is the lowest of any active pitcher (min. 75 IP).
Game 2 of the three-game set is Wednesday night, with Detroit’s Matt Manning (2-3, 3.43) facing Daniel Lynch (4-11, 5.06).