Tigers-Royals Preview

Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Kennedy are making the seemingly difficult transition to a new team and league appear remarkably easy.

Both attempt to continue their excellent early results when the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals resume a three-game series Wednesday night.

The free agent acquisitions have each won their first two starts in impressive fashion, with Zimmermann delivering 13 scoreless innings and Kennedy yielding one run over a combined 13 2/3. The latter carried a no-hitter into the sixth and a shutout into the seventh of Thursday's 6-2 victory at Houston.

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''I've been very impressed with him,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said of Kennedy. ''It's kind of what we expected. He is a guy that competes well and pitches down in the zone.''

Kennedy (2-0, 0.66 ERA) was just as good in a 7-0 win over Minnesota in his April 9 debut, helping to justify a signing that was largely panned by observers following a 9-15 season with San Diego.

Zimmermann has more than done his part to bolster a Tigers rotation that placed last in the AL with a 4.78 ERA in 2015. The two-time NL All-Star limited the Yankees to two singles over seven innings in a 4-0 win on April 8, then worked his way out of two bases-loaded jams in Thursday's 7-4 win at Pittsburgh.

The former Washington pitcher will be asked to provide another lift after the Royals reached Shane Greene for seven runs in 4 1-3 innings en route to an 8-6 win in Tuesday's opener. Kansas City scored all of its runs with two out to halt its first two-game skid of the season.

''We're going to play hard until the last out,'' said catcher Salvador Perez, who had a career-high five RBIs on a three-run homer and a double. ''We're always going to play hard.''

Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered in his third consecutive game, hitting a three-run shot in the seventh, but Detroit (7-5) left the bases loaded against Kelvin Herrera in the eighth and stranded 12 total to lose its second straight.

''We're fighting back, but we're not quite getting it,'' said Saltalamacchia, who has five home runs and 14 RBIs in 30 at-bats. ''At the same time, we're not quitting.''

Saltalamacchia is 0 for 4 with three strikeouts against Kennedy, though several other Tigers have had success in the matchup. Ian Kinsler is 5 for 7 with three doubles, Miguel Cabrera 3 for 7 and Justin Upton 3 for 8 with a home run.

Kinsler went 2 for 5 on Tuesday and is hitting .344 with three homers over a seven-game hitting streak. Upton - a teammate of Kennedy's in San Diego last season - is 4 for his last 26, however, and has struck out 22 times in 53 at-bats.

Kennedy is 0-2 with a 5.71 ERA in three starts against Detroit but did beat Zimmermann while with Arizona on Aug. 23, 2011, throwing seven innings and going 2 for 3 off his counterpart in a 2-0 win at Washington.

Kansas City's Eric Hosmer is batting .342 in a nine-game hitting streak and owns a .395 average in his last 30 meetings with Detroit.