What Bobby Witt & Royals must do to make club history (or avoid it) after Tigers loss

The Kansas City Royals looked to continue their red-hot stretch against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

KC entered fresh off a weekend sweep of the Houston Astros. After taking an early two-run lead, it looked as if the Royals would continue their winning ways.

But the Tigers had other ideas. Detroit scored four late runs en route to a 6-3 victory at Comerica Park.

The Tigers hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning. Tigers duo Akil Baddoo and Parker Meadows teamed up to deliver the big blow. They each tagged Royals reliever Taylor Clarke in the frame.

“It looked like he was ready to hit a fastball,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of Baddoo’s homer. “We challenged him and he did damage on it. Meadows followed it up. Then, things just (got) away from us after that. Give them credit for being ready to hit.”

Baddoo hit his second pinch-hit homer of the season. The blast traveled 443 feet into the outfield seats. Clarke, who took the loss, was charged with three earned runs in his short relief appearance.

The Royals recorded eight hits in the game. Royals captain Salvador Perez and infielders Nick Pratto and Nick Loftin added RBI singles.

“The pitchers were doing a pretty good job ...” Perez said. “They were doing a good job. A couple balls today right in the middle of home plate. It’s over. Just got to forget about that, keep going and come tomorrow to try to win the game.”

Both starting pitchers received no decisions. Tigers starter Reese Olson allowed two runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, Royals starter Zack Greinke allowed one hit and struck out five batters over five innings.

“It was decent,” Greinke said of his start. “The stuff was sharp and I was able to throw strikes. Not perfectly quality at all times but sharp stuff.”

The Royals fell to 54-103. They are three losses shy of tying their worst mark in a single-season. With five games remaining, they must go at least 3-2 to avoid tying that mark and 2-3 to avoid setting a new one.

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Here are more notables from Tuesday’s game:

Anthony Veneziano makes MLB debut

The Royals turned to rookie pitcher Anthony Veneziano in the sixth inning. He was tasked with protecting a 2-0 lead after Greinke pitched five scoreless frames.

Veneziano was the 10th Royals player to make their MLB debut this season. He faced the bottom of the Tigers’ lineup, but ran into some trouble.

Detroit scored two runs in the frame. Tigers star Spencer Torkelson hit a two-run double that tied the game. He drove home Meadows and Carson Kelly, though both runs were unearned.

Veneziano threw 18 of his 31 pitches for strikes. He walked Kelly and Meadows reached on a fielder’s choice and error by Royals second baseman Michael Massey.

“My goal was to keep throwing strikes and find a way to get our team out of it,” Veneziano said.

The Royals drafted Veneziano in the 10th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. He was promoted from Triple-A Omaha on Sept. 18.

Veneziano had a lot of support in the stands. He had upward of 20 family members and friends that made the trip for his MLB debut. He also expressed his gratitude pitching behind Greinke in the game.

“It was an absolute honor,” Veneziano said. “Ever since we were kids, watching him growing up and stuff, getting to play with him these last couple of weeks has been really cool. It meant a lot that he came up to me after the game and said he liked what he saw.

“There are things I need to work on. Hopefully I get to pick his brain this last week and see what I need to do coming into next season.”

Bobby Witt Jr. hits 10th triple

Witt continues to add memorable highlights this season. He collected his MLB-leading 10th triple against Tigers starter Reese Olson.

Olson challenged Witt with a 91.3-mph changeup. Witt was not fooled as he laced the baseball past Tigers outfielder Matt Vierling. The triple broke a tie with MLB trio Corbin Caroll, Gunnar Henderson and Ketel Marte.

The Royals took advantage of the situation. Perez hit a RBI single as KC took a two-run lead.

Witt finished 2-for-3 in the game. He remains one home run shy of becoming the 45th different player and first Royal to achieve a 30-30 season.

What’s next: The Royals continue their three-game series against the Tigers. Jonathan Bowlan is expected to start Game 2 Wednesday night at 5:40 p.m. CT.