Bruce Chen hopes for a little run support this evening when the Kansas City Royals play the middle test of a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium.
Chen has allowed just two earned runs in 11 innings this season, but has no wins to show despite a sparkling 1.64 earned run average. After tossing six scoreless innings in a no-decision on Opening Day, Chen again did not factor in the decision, as he surrendered three runs (two earned) and four hits over five innings of his team's 5-4 loss on Wednesday.
The Panamanian left-hander has faced the Tigers 13 times (11 starts) and is 4-3 with a 5.95 ERA.
Detroit will counter with lefty Drew Smyly, who will be making his second big league start. Smyly escaped a bases-loaded no-out jam in the first inning on Thursday against Tampa and wound up surrendering a run and four hits in four innings, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 7-2 win.
In Monday's opener, Justin Verlander escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning for his first win and complete game of the season as Detroit eked out a 3-2 win.
Verlander (1-1) gave up two runs on seven hits with two walks, a hit batter and nine strikeouts in the 15th complete game of his career.
"It's not that easy to win a baseball game," said Verlander. "I told everybody this offseason that my goal is to be a better pitcher, not to have better numbers. I know that I might pitch better, but not have more wins or a lower earned run average."
Jhonny Peralta went 3-for-4 with a run scored while Brandon Inge hit a two- run home run and Austin Jackson added a solo shot for the Tigers, who have won their past two.
Billy Butler and Humberto Quintero each drove in a run for the Royals, who have now lost five in a row. Danny Duffy (1-1) was touched for three runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings to suffer the loss.
"I made a mistake to Inge," said Duffy. "I thought I was executing pretty much every other pitch to the best of my ability, just made a mistake. I'm proud to call these guys my teammates because they battled their butts off."
The Tigers were 11-7 against the Royals last season.