DETROIT (AP) — Francisco Liriano pitched into the seventh inning in his Detroit debut and Victor Martinez drove in three runs to give the Tigers their first win of the season, 6-1 over the Kansas City Royals on a chilly Monday.
The temperature was in the mid-30s at Comerica Park for a matchup between the last two winless teams in the American League. Some fans came dressed in Michigan winter gear — the Wolverines played Villanova hours later in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game.
Liriano (1-0) allowed a run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. The 34-year-old lefty, signed as a free agent in February, struck out three and walked two while throwing 94 pitches.
The Tigers scored four runs in the fifth, with Martinez delivering a two-run single off Jason Hammel (0-1).
Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the third on a sacrifice fly by Drew Butera, but Detroit tied it in the bottom half on an RBI single by Miguel Cabrera.
The Tigers broke open the game in the fifth. With one out, Leonys Martin singled and Jeimer Candelario doubled. After an intentional walk to Cabrera loaded the bases, Nicholas Castellanos hit a soft line drive to left for a run-scoring single.
Then Martinez added his two-run single, and James McCann’s grounder brought Castellanos home and made it 5-1.
Martinez added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Hammel allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings. He had the second-lowest run support among qualifying AL pitchers last season, and this game was more of the same.
Detroit lost its season opener Friday after the Tigers had the winning run taken away by a replay review against Pittsburgh. On Monday, they initially appeared to have turned a game-ending double play, but that was also overturned by a review. Detroit was nonetheless able to close out the victory without incident.
Royals: 1B Lucas Duda left the game in the seventh with right hamstring tightness.
Tigers: OF Victor Reyes, who left Sunday night’s game against Pittsburgh with a lacerated forearm, did not play Monday.
Detroit LHP Matthew Boyd (6-11, 5.27 ERA last year) takes the mound Tuesday against Royals RHP Jakob Junis (9-3, 4.30). Boyd went 4-0 with a 3.42 ERA in spring training.