Michael Lorenzen tosses 7 innings of 3-hit ball as Detroit Tigers beat Kansas City Royals 3-0

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Michael Lorenzen knew there was no chance that Tigers manager A.J. Hinch was sending him out for the eighth inning Thursday, despite holding the lowly Royals to three hits in a seemingly effortless start.

Lorenzen tried to hide in the dugout anyway.

"I'm surprised he came in the (dugout) entrance he did. You could go down at the other end and find him and still take him out," Hinch said with a smile afterward the 3-0 victory, which gave Detroit its fifth straight series win against its AL Central rival. "But it's fun to see him happy at the end of his outing because of the way he pitched."

Lorenzen (5-6) stranded runners at the corners in the second and another at third in the fourth inning but otherwise went unchallenged while running his scoreless streak to 23 2/3 innings dating to June 30 at Colorado. The All-Star right-hander, who has made his disdain for day games well known, struck out three and walked one on a bright, sunny afternoon.

Tyler Holton worked a perfect eighth before Jason Foley handled the ninth for his fourth save.

"With the amount of strikes I've been throwing," Lorenzen said, "I know that teams are going to come out aggressive. And so if you just leverage that, you get some weak contact. A really good job by the defense."

Spencer Torkelson, Andy Ibañez and Eric Haase drove in runs for Detroit, which took three of four from the Royals to improve to 7-3 against them this season. The teams still have three more to play at Comerica Park in September.

"Obviously coming out of the break, you never know quite how the guys are going to get back up and running," Hinch said, "and we came out aggressively in Seattle. ... I think our guys in there understand that every day is really important coming out of the break."

The Tigers scored twice off Zack Greinke (1-10) in the second before adding another run in the fifth, after the veteran right-hander had been removed from the game. Greinke allowed four hits in four innings in his first start since July 4, when the 39-year-old was diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis and landed on the injured list.

"We knew it wasn't going to be a deep outing," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. "It looked like he struggled a bit with his command. He was around the zone plenty but probably a lower strike percentage than he's used to, or we're used to seeing."

Greinke had been good the first time through a lineup this season, but he struggled against the bottom half on Thursday.

The trouble began in the second with Nick Maton's two-out single. Akil Baddoo followed with a walk and Ibañez gave Detroit the lead with a base hit. Haase followed with his run-scoring single to extend the Tigers' lead to 2-0.

Greinke got through the next two innings before Austin Cox replaced him.

Zach McKinstry's triple in the fifth led to another run when Torkelson lifted a sacrifice fly to left field.

Meanwhile, the Royals kept squandering their few scoring opportunities.

Drew Waters flied out to right field to leave runners on the corners in the second. Nick Pratto spiked his helmet after striking out to leave a runner on third in the fourth. And in the sixth inning, Kyle Isbel ripped a double down the right-field line but was easily thrown out by McKinstry while trying to stretch it into a triple.

"(Lorenzen) doesn't give up a lot," said Quatraro, whose team was shut out for the 12th time and held to four hits or fewer for the 20th this season. "You have to really maximize your chances and he didn't give us many."

Nick Wittgren had his glove knocked off his hand by Ibañez's line drive in the ninth. But the Royals reliever alertly pounced on the ball behind the mound and threw him out at first base in a bang-bang play that was confirmed by a review.

The Royals created space for Greinke on the roster by optioning right-hander Max Castillo to Triple-A Omaha. Castillo allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings Wednesday night in his only outing since being recalled last weekend.

Tigers RHP Reese Olson (1-3, 3.96 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series against the Padres on Friday night. The Royals are headed to New York for three games against the Yankees, with RHP Alec Marsh (0-3, 5.40 ERA) starting the opener.