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Detroit Tigers, Casey Mize torched by Bobby Witt Jr. in 10-3 loss to Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Detroit Tigers played another game to forget against an American League Central opponent. Right-hander Casey Mize gave up six runs and couldn't finish the second inning, all while rising superstar Bobby Witt Jr. destroyed the Tigers by crushing two home runs and driving in six runs.

It was a bad night, again.

The Tigers were outplayed by the Witt-led Kansas City Royals for the second game in a row, losing 10-3 on Tuesday in the second of three games in the series at Kauffman Stadium.

After another loss, the Tigers (23-25) have slipped to 8½ games out of first place in the AL Central. The Royals, though, improved to 31-19 and sit just 1½ games behind the first-place Cleveland Guardians.

Mize allowed six runs on nine hits with two strikeouts across 1⅔ innings, throwing 52 pitches. He didn't walk any batters, but the Royals hammered his fastball and splitter. There were 13 balls in play against Mize, with an average exit velocity of 93.2 mph.

Tigers pitcher Casey Mize delivers a pitch against the Royals in the first inning on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Tigers pitcher Casey Mize delivers a pitch against the Royals in the first inning on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri.

His ERA ballooned from 3.50 to 4.57.

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Witt hit a three-run home run to center field off Mize's splitter in the second inning, clocked at an exit velocity of 111 mph. The ball traveled 468 feet.

Witt also delivered an RBI single to put the Royals ahead, 1-0, in the first inning. He increased the lead to 8-0 in the third inning with a sacrifice fly against left-handed reliever Tyler Holton's cutter, then he pushed the lead to 9-3 in the sixth inning with a solo home run against right-handed reliever Jason Foley's sinker.

It was Foley's first pitch in a game since May 14.

Witt finished 3-for-4 with one single, two home runs, one sacrifice fly and six RBIs. The 23-year-old is hitting .304 with a .908 OPS in 50 games this season, his third year in the big leagues. In Tuesday's game, he recorded two home runs for the fourth time in his career and six RBIs for the second time in his career, also hitting the longest homer of his career by 25 feet.

The Tigers pulled Mize from his ninth start of the season with two outs in the second inning. He was removed immediately after Adam Frazier hit his 52nd and final pitch — a fastball in the strike zone — for a single to left field.

Holton, who replaced Mize, ended the second inning with a first-pitch slider for a pop out.

Three runs

Royals right-hander Alec Marsh gave up three runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in six innings, throwing 94 pitches. The Tigers scored all three runs in the fourth inning.

The Tigers cut the deficit to 8-3 with Matt Vierling's two-RBI triple and Colt Keith's RBI single. The triple from Vierling came after Mark Canha's walk and Wenceel Pérez's single.

Pérez had the Tigers' first hit of the game against Marsh.

Keith finished 3-for-4 with one RBI and one strikeout.

A better Joey Wentz

Left-hander Joey Wentz, who allowed five runs in Monday's 8-3 loss to the Royals, covered the seventh and eighth innings in a bounce-back performance.

He surrendered a solo home run to Hunter Renfroe, making it 10-3, in the seventh inning, but he didn't allow any other runs. He avoided his fastball entirely en route to a five-pitch strikeout of Salvador Perez in the eighth inning, one of his three strikeouts.

Wentz threw more curveballs than fastballs and cutters, a big difference from Monday's pitch mix. He has a 3.86 ERA in 18 innings this season.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him @EvanPetzold.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers torched by Bobby Witt Jr. in 10-3 loss to K.C. Royals