Mike Maroth has already come a long way since his 21-loss season last year. The left-hander hopes to build on the best outing of his career when the Detroit Tigers open a two-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park.
Maroth, who became the first big league pitcher since Oakland’s Brian Kingman to lose 20 games last season, was in the midst of a five-start winless streak before tossing a one-hitter against the New York Yankees in Friday’s 8-0 victory. The 26-year-old southpaw struck out seven and walked two during his second career complete game, and first this season.
“It was unbelievable having a sold-out crowd, standing on their feet for the ninth inning, getting louder and louder,” said Maroth, who tied a career high in strikeouts. “I usually smile, but I’m going to be smiling for a while.”
Maroth, who can even his record at 7-7 with a win Wednesday, has been unbeatable at Comerica this year, going 4-0 with a 2.55 ERA in seven starts. Last year, he went 3-12 with a 5.08 ERA in 17 home outings.
The Tigers, who have already surpassed their win total from last year, when they went an AL record-worst 43-119, dropped a 5-4 decision in 10 innings to Minnesota on Tuesday.
Craig Monroe hit a two-run homer and Rondell White also drove in a pair of runs for Detroit, which dropped two straight to the Twins after splitting a four-game set with the defending AL champion New York Yankees over the weekend.
The Royals, owners of the worst record in the AL, are coming off Tuesday’s 12-3 loss to Baltimore. Kansas City, which has dropped three of four, stranded a season-high 15 runners.
“That’s how many it was? It seemed like a lot,” Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney said. “That’s tough. You leave 15 guys out there, you aren’t going to win too many games.”