A road trip that began with such promise ended in ugly fashion for the Detroit Tigers, who have lost four in a row as they prepare to open a three-game series with the American League Central Division-leading Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
The Tigers are hoping to turn things around on their nine-game homestand after they were dominated in a three-game series sweep by the Los Angeles Angels to finish their nine-game West Coast swing at 4-5.
The Royals overcame an emotionally charged atmosphere in Boston to sweep a split doubleheader from the Red Sox on Sunday and improve to 10-7. Kansas City had entered the series with the second-fewest homers (5) in the majors, but matched that total in the three-game set and swatted three in the nightcap of the twin bill.
"Any time you can sweep a doubleheader with any big league team, especially Boston - at Boston - it's huge," said left fielder Alex Gordon, who went deep for the first time this season.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Kansas City, Fox Sports Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Wade Davis (2-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Max Scherzer (1-0, 2.84)
Davis has made a seamless transition back to a starting role after pitching in relief with Tampa Bay last season. Following a rocky season debut in which he allowed four runs on nine hits in four-plus innings, Davis has thrown 12 scoreless innings in winning his last two starts.
He was sensational last time out, blanking Atlanta on five hits over seven innings while striking out seven and not walking a batter. Miguel Cabrera is 2-for-10 with two homers against him.
Scherzer has turned in back-to-back overpowering performances but has nothing to show for it. He struck out 12 and gave up one run on six hits in eight innings at Seattle last time out, a game the Tigers won in 14 innings.
That followed a six-inning stint at Oakland in which he fannned 11 and allowed one earned run. Scherzer is 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 13 career starts against the Royals, but he beat them twice last season while giving up four runs in 17 innings.
1. Kansas City starters have pitched at least six innings in seven straight games.
2. Tigers 1B Prince Fielder had two hits and a homer Sunday after going 3-for-22 with 10 strikeouts in his previous five games.
3. The Tigers are 5-for-52 with runners in scoring position in their last six games.