Detroit Tigers second baseman Jonathan Schoop has hit three home runs in the last three days.
Two of those homers were influential in comeback wins; the other put his team in a perfect spot to compete for the lead.
His 389-foot homer to left-center field tied Thursday’s game and seemed ready to spark the Tigers once again.
This time, however, his solo shot wasn’t enough.
Not even Miguel Cabrera’s first multi-homer game since Sept. 30, 2016, could steal the four-game slate.
The Kansas City Royals prevailed, 5-3, Thursday at Comerica Park to split the series and drop the Tigers to 4-3 in the 60-game season.
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Right-hander Ivan Nova didn’t do anything special. He only struck out three batters and reached 68 pitches by the end of the fifth inning. He got ahead in counts, throwing 61 of his 82 pitches for strikes, and let his defense work.
Against Nova, the Royals tallied 12 hard hits, most of which came in the first and second innings. Those included RBI singles by Ryan O’Hearn and Franchy Cordero early before Nova retired 13 of the next 15.
[ Ivan Nova on quick return to MLB action: ‘Never hold anything back’ ]
Nova got two outs in the sixth inning before consecutive singles by Alex Gordon and Adalberto Mondesi forced manager Ron Gardenhire to go to the bullpen. In his second start this season, Nova finished with two runs on eight hits in 5⅔ innings. He didn’t allow a walk.
Entering with runners on the corners and two outs, left-hander Tyler Alexander used an 80 mph curveball to get Ryan McBroom to pop out into foul territory and escape the jam.
The Tigers considered Singer in the 2018 MLB draft until Auburn’s Casey Mize stole the show.
On Thursday, Singer was the one in Comerica Park; Mize is still waiting at Fifth Third Field in Toledo for his call-up.
[ Once projected to the Tigers at No. 1, Royals’ Brady Singer now faces them ]
Singer used his fastball, slider and a limited number of change-ups in a five-inning performance, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out three.
When Singer left a slider up in the zone, Cabrera drove it 356 feet the opposite way for a home run to tie the game, 1-1, in the first inning.
[ Cabrera shows up slimmer, which could mean big things this season ]
Cabrera’s home run was No. 479 in his career, the 30th most in MLB history. Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff are tied for 28th – 14 homers ahead of him. The solo homer was Cabrera’s 742nd extra-base hit as a Tiger, passing Hank Greenberg for fifth-most in team history. He needs 64 more to catch Harry Heilmann.
His eighth-inning home run made Thursday his 40th career multi-homer game.
The Cincinnati Reds come to Comerica Park for a three-game weekend series. The Tigers were expecting Trevor Bauer, Wade Miley and Tyler Mahle, but with Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs getting postponed due to rain and Miley to the injured list, everyone gets moved around.
This means the Tigers will now see Luis Castillo on Friday, Bauer on Saturday and Anthony DeSclafani on Sunday. The Tigers will counter with Spencer Turnbull on Friday and Michael Fulmer Saturday. Sunday’s starter is to be determined.
In the season-opening series at Great American Ball Park, the Tigers won two of three against the Reds.