Eduardo Rodriguez pitches Detroit Tigers to 3-2 win over Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Eduardo Rodriguez made a spectacular start for the Detroit Tigers against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.

Pretty good audition for a bunch of contenders in need of pitching, too.

Rodriguez allowed two runs and four hits over seven dominant innings in what could be one of his final starts for the Tigers as the trade deadline approaches, helping them to a 3-2 victory that wasn’t decided until the end of a nervy night inning.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 19: Eduardo Rodriguez #57 of the Detroit Tigers throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 19, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Rodriguez (6-5) needed just 37 pitches to cut through the Kansas City lineup once, and the left-hander still had not allowed a hit until Matt Duffy’s one-out single in the fifth. Rodriguez wound up striking out seven without allowing a walk.

"Eddie is always good," said the Tigers’ Riley Greene. "He’s my teammate and that’s all I can really say about that."

Jason Foley worked the eighth for Detroit before Alex Lange ran into trouble closing things out.

He began by plunking Salvador Perez, bounced by to get pinch hitter Nicky Lopez to ground into a double play, then walked Michael Massey. Drew Waters followed with a sharp single that looked as if it might score the tying run, but Royals third base coach Vance Wilson threw up the stop sign, leaving them with runners on the corners and two outs.

Lange proceeded to strike out Kyle Isbel and finish off his 16th save.

Javier Baez homered and Miguel Cabrera and Kerry Carpenter also drove runs for Detroit, which struggled to solve Ryan Yarbrough until the lanky Royals left-hander experienced some cramping in his hamstring with two outs in the sixth inning.

Yarbrough (2-5) allowed three runs on six hits and a walk before departing.

"He just had a mild cramp but when he tried to throw a practice pitch," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said, "it cramped again."

The Tigers jumped ahead on Baez’s solo shot in the second, his seventh of the year, and for a while it looked as if that might be enough. Rodriguez leaned on his fastball and cutter, along with an occasional changeup, to keep Kansas City guessing until Duffy finally delivered his single in the fifth inning.

Massey followed with a tying double down the right-field line. And after Waters grounded out, Isbel added an RBI double to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead — and leave Rodriguez slapping his glove in frustration.

"He’s our guy. He accepts that responsibility," Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. "He stayed in there for us."

It paid off when Yarbrough and the Royals bullpen gave the lead right back.

The Tigers had pulled even again in the sixth on Carpenter’s single when Yarbrough — who missed 55 games this season with head fractures from a line drive — began to cramp. He was checked on by the Kansas City training staff and threw one warm-up pitch before departing, and Carlos Hernandez proceeded to walk Baez before Cabrera’s single put Detroit ahead for good.

"If there’s one person that you get to put up to the plate with someone throwing a hundred," Greene said, "it’s got to be Miggy."

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: Perez was back in the lineup after missing a couple of starts with a left hamstring strain. "Everything is good," Quatraro said, "just don’t look for him to score from first or anything."

INJURED LIST

Royals LHP Daniel Lynch went on the injured list with a shoulder strain and reliever Austin Cox recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take his place. Lynch experienced a dip in velocity before the All-Star break and it was still there during his start Tuesday night, so the Royals decided to give him a rest. They hope Lynch is back as soon as he is eligible.

MIGGY’S FAREWELL

Cabrera, who is retiring after this season, was honored by the Royals during his final scheduled visit to Kauffman Stadium. Perez and Hall of Famer George Brett helped to present a $10,000 check to Cabrera’s foundation along with a framed crown-and-photo montage, which honored the triple crown that Cabrera clinched in Kansas City on Oct. 4, 2012.

UP NEXT

Royals RHP Zack Greinke is expected to come off the IL to start the series finale against Detroit on Thursday. The 39-year-old Greinke (1-9, 5.44) has been out since leaving his start July 4 against Minnesota with right shoulder discomfort. The Tigers will counter with RHP Michael Lorenzen (4-6, 3.75).