DETROIT (AP) — Comerica Park’s spacious outfield has frustrated hitters many times over the years.
It hasn’t been a big deal for Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler this season.
Dozier and Jorge Soler each homered twice Sunday, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 10-2 for a split of the four-game series between the worst teams in the AL Central.
“They’ve got the type of power that makes any park look small,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They are both swinging the bat extremely well right now.”
It was Dozier’s third career multihomer game, all of which have come on the current road trip. He hit two against the Twins on Aug. 2, and then duplicated the feat Thursday in the series opener in Detroit.
“I feel really good in the box right now, and I’ve felt that was for a while,” he said. “Today was a good day to hit and we both see the ball well here.”
Soler went deep four times in the final three games of the series. He now has 35 homers, three behind Mike Moustakas’ team record of 38.
“Obviously, the record is right there and everyone likes to break records, but I’m not thinking about that,” he said through an interpreter. “I’m recognizing pitches as soon as it comes out of the pitcher’s hand. That’s the key.”
Whit Merrifield led off the game with a home run for the second time in three days. The trio combined for 10 homers in the series.
“I don’t think we ever established the inside corner against them, so they were coming to the plate looking for stuff on the outside half,” Tigers catcher John Hicks said. “Dozier and Soler are big, strong guys, so if they can get something out there, they will hit it a long way.”
The Royals won their second in a row after losing six of seven. Last-place Detroit fell to 7-23 since the All-Star break.
“It is disappointing to win the first two games of the series and only end up with a split,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We just didn’t do enough the last two days.”
Jakob Junis (8-10) improved to 7-1 against the Tigers, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings. His seven wins against Detroit in the last three seasons are tied with Corey Kluber for the most in the majors.
“I didn’t feel great out there, but I located pitches when I needed them,” he said. “They took advantage of some mistakes early, but I was able to keep a lot of runs off the board and let the offense do what they did.”
Daniel Norris (3-10) allowed three homers in three innings, leaving the Tigers down 4-2.
“I didn’t have much of anything today,” he said. “I had a blister that made me adjust my changeup grip and I never got it to work.”
Merrifield led off with his 14th homer after he opened Friday’s 5-2 loss with an inside-the-park homer against Edwin Jackson. Norris retired the next batter, but Dozier hit his third homer of the series into the Royals’ bullpen in left-center.
Niko Goodrum made it 2-1 in the bottom of the first with his 11th homer, but Soler responded with a two-run drive in the third for his 34th homer.
Soler finished with three hits and five RBIs. He homered again in the eighth against Drew VerHagen and hit a two-run single in the ninth.
HOMER HEAVEN FOR THE ROYALS
Dozier and Soler each have six home runs at Comerica Park this season, more than any Tiger other than JaCoby Jones (seven). Merrifield has four, one more than Miguel Cabrera.
NO SERIES WIN
With a win on Saturday or Sunday, the Tigers would have won just their third home series of the season. They swept the Royals in three games in April and won two of three from Kansas City in May. They are 9-7 against Kansas City this season and 26-73 against the rest of the major leagues.
Both teams have Monday off before starting a home series on Tuesday. Matthew Boyd (6-8. 4.16 ERA) will start for Detroit against Yusei Kikuchi (4-8, 5.34 ERA) of the Seattle Mariners, while the Royals will have Glenn Sparkman (3-7, 5.71 ERA) starting against the St. Louis Cardinals.