Royals have chance to earn first series win of season Sunday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals have yet to win a series this year, but they could change that Sunday with a victory over the Detroit Tigers.

After a 3-2 victory Saturday over the Royals, the Tigers will be looking to split the four-game series.

“That’s huge,” Gardenhire said of winning Saturday. “There was some strange stuff going on. We got through it, which was huge.”

The strangest occurrence came in the ninth when Alex Gordon‘s looping liner to left-center field struck Leonys Martin in the head for an error, allowing Lucas Duda, who led off the inning with a double, to score an unearned run to cut the lead to one run.

“I’m OK,” Martin said. “Hit me right in the head. I didn’t even touch the ball with the glove. That’s a bad feeling right there, with the game on the line, but Greeney (closer Shane Greene) picked me up right there. At one point, I lost the ball. I don’t know if it was the lights.”

Detroit right fielder Nicholas Castellanos had two doubles and a triple for his second multi-extra base hit game of the season. His first was April 21 against the Royals. He’s hitting .327 (49 for 150) with 20 runs, 22 extra-base hits and 24 RBIs in 37 games against the Royals since the start of the 2016 season.

Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd will start the series finale. He is 1-2 with a 2.48 ERA in his first five starts, allowing 23 hits — three of them home runs — and eight earned runs over 29 innings. He has struck out 21 and walked eight. Opponents are hitting .217 off him.

In his last outing Tuesday against Tampa Bay, Boyd earned the victory. He allowed one run on seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts over six innings. He has thrown six or more frames and allowed one run in four of his five starts this season.

Over Boyd’s last nine starts, dating to September 12, 2017, he has a 2.47 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .204 off Boyd in that span.

Boyd is 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA in 10 career starts against the Royals. He pitched well on April 3 against Kansas City, but absorbed the loss, permitting one run on four hits with one strikeout over six innings.

In five career Kauffman Stadium starts, Boyd is 1-2 with a 10.53 ERA. Boyd has a 14-24 record with a 5.20 ERA in 64 games (60 starts) in the majors.

Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar is 7 for 18 against Boyd. Mike Moustakas is 5 for 16 with a home run while Whit Merrifield is 5 for 13 with four RBIs. Salvador Perez is 5 for 18 off Boyd, but two of the hits were home runs and he has five RBIs.

Right-hander Jakob Junis will be the Royals’ starter. He is 3-2 with a 3.29 ERA and holding opponents to a .199 batting average in his first six starts.

Junis is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season. He is 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA in five career outings (four starts) against Kansas City.