Norris threw five scoreless innings to pick up his first victory in more than three months as the Tigers snapped a season-high nine-game losing streak by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-1 on Thursday night.
Norris (5-8) gave up two hits in five innings. He was 0-4 in four starts and four relief appearances since a June 16 triumph over Tampa Bay. He was removed after 54 pitches with a tender groin.
“It got to the point where it really bothered me on every pitch,” Norris said. “That’s why they took me out. I didn’t want to come out. I didn’t know if I kept going what would happen. Anytime I tried to throw hard, my groin would hurt. I was just trying to take off and throw strikes. It was good to see I could be more efficient, without just trying to be nasty.”
The Tigers had been outscored 68-39 in their losing streak, which was their longest since dropping nine straight Sept. 1-9, 2005.
Nicholas Castellanos’ fifth-inning double with the bases loaded scored Alex Presley, JaCoby Jones and Dixon Machado.
“I was just thinking like ‘Nick, don’t strike out here. Don’t do that.’ Just try to stay short and early and hit something hard,” Castellanos said.
Jones singled home Andrew Romine with the first run of the inning.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (9-10) did not make it through the inning. Duffy was charged with four runs, six hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. Duffy, who was the Royals’ opening day starter, finishes the season with a 3.81 ERA in 24 starts.
“I just wasn’t locating very well in the fifth,” Duffy said. “I hold myself to a standard and walks are just not acceptable and I had three of them today. One of them came back to bite me.”
Duffy has been bothered by an elbow injury this season.
“I’m excited to get this thing fixed and not deal with it next year,” Duffy said.
Paulo Orlando led off the Kansas City sixth with a home run off Warwick Saupold. Orlando has homered in back-to-back games after going 117 at-bats without going deep.
Orlando also doubled in the third and had two of the five Kansas City hits.
“About the only offense,” Yost said came from Orlando. “We got five hits. We didn’t generate a whole lot of offense.”
Relievers Daniel Stump, Drew VerHagen and Shane Greene held the Royals scoreless over the final three innings. Greene picked up his eighth save in 12 opportunities, but not before giving up a single and a walk.
“The bullpen did a nice job,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “Other than the home run off Saupold by Orlando, they held the lead, and it kind of came together for us.”
IT’S A GO FOR ROMINE
With the Twins clinching a playoff berth, Ausmus said, “it’s probably going to happen,” that Romine will play all nine positions in the season finale at Minnesota. “I haven’t drawn out a map, and I probably won’t until Saturday,” Ausmus said. “Catcher and pitcher it’ll probably just be one hitter.”
Tigers: 3B Jeimer Candelario was held out of the lineup with a sore left wrist. The switch-hitting Candelario said it bothers him when he swings right-handed, but not left-handed. … RHP Jeff Ferrell still has not cleared the concussion protocol procedure. He has not pitched since Sept. 18.
Royals: C Salvador Perez left after three innings with left groin tightness. Drew Butera replaced him. “His groin has been sore, been bothering him about the last two weeks,” Yost said. “It just kind of got worse.”
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd will start the series opener at Minnesota. He is 5-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 10 career starts against the Twins. RHP Kyle Gibson will be the Twins starter.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy, who is winless in a club-record 18 consecutive home starts, will start Friday against the Diamondbacks. RHP Zack Greinke, who began his career with Kansas City, will start for Arizona.