Riley Greene drilled a leadoff triple into midfield.
The ball was hit at an exit speed of 105.7 mph, traveled 413 feet and would have hit a home run in 22 margins. The rookie immediately scored on the sacrifice fly by Javier Báez.
But Greene saved the big fireworks for the ninth inning; the 21-year old shot the second pitch he faced from reliever Joel Payamps with one out in the ninth inning to the midfield bushes to take the Detroit tigers a walk-off 4-3 win above the Kansas City Royals.
Greene’s home run followed an tying blast to Victor Reyes’ right center at Payamps, which was otherwise a frustrating outing for Tigers bats against struggling left-handed Kris Bubic and the KC bulls at Comerica Park. The win took the Tigers 30-46 and restored their two-game lead over the Royals (28-48) in the basement of the American League Central.
Detroit failed to put a runner on base in the seventh and eighth inning for its sudden rally.
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At the start of Saturday, Bubic this season had a 7.45 ERA with 23 walks and 33 strikeouts in 38⅔ innings.
He had a 4.62 ERA through five starts in June.
Against the Tigers, Bubic gave up two runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in 4⅔ innings. He registered 10 swings and misses: five fastballs, two curveballs and three changeups.
In the first inning, righthander Beau Brieske loaded the bases after facing four batters: Whit Merrifield (single), Andrew Benintendi (walk), Bobby Witt Jr. (fly) and Vinnie Pasquantino (walk).
Pitching coach Chris Fetter came forward for a mound visit.
On the next pitch, Hunter Dozier fastballed into left field for a two-run double. Dozier gave the Royals a 2-0 lead, but Brieske answered by taking on the last two outs without further damage, including a strikeout by MJ Melendez with his substitution.
Brieske fired 27 pitches in the first inning.
Beau Brieske fights
After a messy first time, Brieske struck in and carried the Tigers through the sixth inning. He didn’t have a good feel for his slider, meaning he couldn’t rely on that throw as he usually does against right-handed batters.
The 24-year-old threw 14 sliders.
He only recorded one whiff with his evolving slider.
Brieske clawed his way through his 13th MLB start with a heavy fastball changeup mix, which helped him against lefties. For his 82 pitches (50 strikes), he threw 40 four-seam fastballs (49%), 17 changeups (21%), 14 sliders (17%), nine two-seam fastballs (11%) and two curveballs (2%) .
Brieske — rebounding from his first inning of 27 pitches — needed nine pitches before three outs in the second inning. He worked around a walk and a single for a 13-pitch third inning.
He gave up three hits in the fourth, including a line-drive RBI single to Merrifield. Michael A. Taylor, who led off the frame with a single and advanced to third base on Nicky Lopez’ single, scored for a 3-1 Royals advantage.
Most importantly, Brieske finished strong.
He retired the last eight batters he faced: two in the fourth, all three in the fifth and all three in the sixth. Brieske dominated the Royals through the line-up on his third time, throwing six pitches in the sixth inning.
Brieske gave up three runs on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts in six innings.
Keep it close
The Tigers scored their second run in the fifth inning, fueled by Greene’s full-count walk. Miguel Cabrera advanced to third base with a slow-rolling two-out single into rightfield.
Greene scored on the single by Eric Haase.
He narrowed the Tigers’ deficit to 3-2.
An opportunity to jump front arose in the sixth inning, when the Tigers turned to pinch-hitter Spencer Torkelson — replacing lefthanded Kody Clemens — to face lefthanded reliever Amir Garrett with a runner on base and one out.
Torkelson popped into foul territory, but Victor Reyes extended the inning with a walk. Greene then struckout when he watched a full-count fastball from Garrett land under the strike zone.
As for the Tigers’ bullpen, righthander Alex Lange and lefthanded Andrew Chafin pitched perfect seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Lange struckout two strikeouts; Chafin struck the side.
Right Joe Jiménez threw a perfect ninth without a strikeout.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers run from Kansas City Royals to Reyes, Riley Greene HRs