Tigers try to cool off red-hot Royals

The Kansas City Royals are a tough out lately. And while they’re getting contributions from throughout their lineup, opposing pitchers are feeling it right out of the gate.

The one-two punch of third baseman Maikel Garcia and shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. at the top of the order has been dynamite.

Garcia went 4-for-5 with a pair of triples and Witt homered twice and drove in six runs in the Royals’ 10-3 win against the visiting Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Garcia is batting .359 (14-for-39) over the course of a nine-game hitting streak. The 23-year-old Witt is riding a five-game hitting streak, going 8-for-20 (.400) in that stretch with eight RBIs.

“They’re dynamic,” Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said. “Speed, power, competitiveness, being able to use the whole field, they can take a walk, they can do all kinds of things. They can run the bases — not just steal bases but they can run the bases well, too.”

The Royals have won five in a row and 10 of their past 13 games heading into Wednesday’s series finale against the Tigers. They’ve torched the opposition 37-15 during their winning streak, with 26 of those runs coming in the past three games alone.

They’re 31-19, matching their best start through a season’s first 50 games since 1976.

Left-hander Cole Ragans (3-3, 3.70 ERA) will start for Kansas City on Wednesday. He’s 0-1 in two career games (one start) against Detroit, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out nine in seven innings.

The Tigers, meanwhile, are trying to snap out of a skid that has seen them drop three straight and five of their past seven. They’ve been outscored 24-10 over the past three games, including 18-6 in the two against Kansas City.

“(The Royals) are a good team,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “They put the ball in play, they put up really competitive at-bats, and their rotation has been really good. … They’re putting together a really competitive game every day, so when they swing the bats together like they have, they’re really tough and can do a lot of things that can pose a challenge for you.”

Detroit knows it’s better than what it has shown.

“I think you can think back to just a couple of days ago we were rolling pretty good,” third baseman Matt Vierling said. “We know it’s in there, we know we can get it back pretty quickly. We’ve just got to string together a little bit of momentum. But, yeah, a game like (Tuesday), we’re just going to put it past us, and we’ve just got to move forward.”

Hinch turned to his bullpen early for the second straight game. Unlike Monday’s opener, though, when Reese Olson exited in the third inning due to injury, Hinch pulled starter Casey Mize on Tuesday after he gave up six runs on nine hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Despite the bullpen’s extra work, Hinch isn’t concerned.

“We’ll be fine,” he said. “We’ll be ready to go.”

The good news for the Tigers is they’ll have Tarik Skubal (6-0, 1.80) on the mound. The left-hander has gone at least six innings in eight of his nine starts. Skubal is 2-7 with a 4.65 ERA in 12 career appearances (10 starts) against the Royals.

–Field Level Media