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Royals bullpen stinks as Tigers sweep doubleheader

Carlos Hernández continues his struggles.

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Royals relievers gave up ten runs in 7 23 innings as the Tigers swept a doubleheader on Thursday, wasting a solid starting effort by Cole Ragans in the second game. The Royals mustered little offense on the day as well, managing just ten hits and three runs in the two games.

Jonathan Bowlan made his MLB debut in the first game, which actually started on Wednesday evening. The 26-year-old right hander gave up a solo home run to Miguel Cabrera, number 511 in his Hall of Fame career. Bowlan would yield after two innings to Angel Zerpa, who gave up a three-run home run to Tyler Nevin in the fourth to make it 4-0. Tigers starter Tarik Skubal has been very effective since returning from injury, and he shut down Royals bats, tossing four shutout innings with eight strikeouts, no walks, and just two hits allowed.

Then the rains came, suspending the game until Thursday afternoon. Steven Cruz pitched for the Royals when the game resumed, and he initially had trouble locating his pitches. With one out, he walked two hitters, then hit Kerry Carpenter to load the bases. He walked Cabrera to force in a run, then allowed another run on a ground ball fielder’s choice. He would settle down after that, striking out three of the next four hitters he faced.

Jackson Kowar came in for the eighth and also struggled, walking Nevin before giving up a two-run home run to Jake Rogers. Ultimately it didn’t matter much as Royals hitters managed just four hits - three of them singles - with no walks in an 8-0 Tigers win.

The Royals were able to get some offense going immediately in the second game. Edward Olivares drove home a run in the first on a single to put the Royals on the board. In the third, an MJ Melendez walk set up a two-run home run by Michael Massey, his 15th of the season.

Cole Ragans tossed goose eggs over the first six innings, facing just four over the minimum over that time. But he ran into trouble in the seventh, giving up a one out single to Andre Lipcius, then walking the next two hitters to load the bases. Parker Meadows turned on a high fastball to single home the first Tigers run and chasing Ragans out of the game.

Then Carlos Hernández came in. Going into today, he had the highest WHIP in baseball among relievers since August 1 and the fourth-highest ERA, and that went up today. He gave up a two-run single to Matt Vierling to tie the game, then an RBI single by Andy Ibáñez gave the Tigers the lead. Spencer Torkelson then hit one into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his 30th of the year. A Tyler Nevin triple finally chased Hernández out of the game, and Anthony Veneziano pitched a scoreless eighth. But the game was effectively over and the Royals lost 7-3.

The Royals fall to 54-105, and can tie the club record for losses in a season with their next loss. They head back home for the last series of the year, hosting the New York Yankees beginning tomorrow evening with Jordan Lyles expected to start.