By DAVE SMALE
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Pinch-hitter Zack Short hit a three-run homer to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 6-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.
Riley Greene also homered, doubled and scored twice for the Tigers in the game that was delayed 29 minutes by rain.
“Any time you leave a place having won a series on the road, it’s loud in the clubhouse,” Detroit manager AJ Hinch said with a smile. “It’ll be loud on the plane, even though it’s late.”
Greene led off the sixth with a double and went to third on an infield single by Matt Vierling. Short drove them both home with the first pinch-hit home run of his career, a 416-foot shot to left field off Josh Taylor (1-2).
“I faced that guy last month a few times (in Triple-A),” Short said. “I wasn't really expecting one pitch or another, but I saw it early. All we needed was something into the outfield and I put my best swing on it.”
Will Vest (1-0) retired all four hitters he faced, striking out two. Alex Lange picked up his ninth save in 10 tries.
Both starting pitchers were effective, even though they didn't stick around very long. Matthew Boyd allowed one run on three hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out six. Zach Greinke gave up one run on four hits in five innings, walking one and striking out five.
They were sharp early. Greinke didn't allow his first hit until the fourth inning, while Boyd allowed only one hit in his first three innings.
“It was a good day,” Boyd said. “We built off what we've been doing. We got ahead in counts. I would have liked to put guys away a little faster, but we kept it close in the inning when they had some baserunners.”
When Greinke finally gave up a hit, Greene made sure it counted. He launched a 440-foot blast into the fountains in right-center field, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
“I tried to throw it more inside,” Greinke said of the pitch Greene hit out. “It ended up being more middle, middle up. It definitely wasn’t right where I wanted to throw it, but there are some spots I would have been more upset with than where it ended up. But, he hit it pretty good, so, obviously, not too good of a spot.”
The Royals tied it in the bottom of the inning on an RBI fielder's choice by MJ Melendez. They stranded runners at third base in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Royals got a run in the seventh on Vinnie Pasquantino's two-out RBI single, but the Tigers answered that with a pair in the eighth. Jonathan Schoop's two-out, two-run double drove home Spencer Torkelson and Short. The Royals added a run in the eighth on a single by Melendez and a run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Bobby Witt Jr.
Tigers: Return to Detroit, where they will open a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. The White Sox will send RHP Lucas Giolito (3-3, 3.63 ERA) to the mound to face Alex Faedo (0-2, 4.60 ERA).
Royals: Have Thursday off before opening a three-game home series against the Washington Nationals.