KANSAS CITY -- Nicholas Castellanos delivered a three-run double and the beleaguered Tigers bullpen tossed four innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 win over the Royals on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris went five innings for the win and pitched to contact, giving up two hits
KANSAS CITY -- Nicholas Castellanos delivered a three-run double and the beleaguered Tigers bullpen tossed four innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 win over the Royals on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris went five innings for the win and pitched to contact, giving up two hits while walking none and striking out one to help snap the club's nine-game losing skid. Manager Brad Ausmus and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand visited Norris on the mound in the fourth inning, but he stayed in the game.
"Anytime I tried to throw hard, my groin would hurt," Norris said. "So I was just taking something off and trying to throw strikes. I think that was nice to see that I could be more efficient without trying to be nasty, getting ahead, staying ahead. It was a grind for sure, tough every pitch. I wanted to keep going, though."
Shane Greene picked up his eighth save.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy pitched his final game of the season and was solid through four shutout innings. But he lasted just 4 1/3, giving up six hits and four runs.
And it could be the last time Duffy gets to play with some of his longtime teammates, such as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain, all pending free agents.
"They've given everything they've had and then some for a decade to this city, this organization," Duffy said. "If they do bounce, I'm gonna miss them dearly. Obviously. I get sentimental about certain things. But it's just the way I am. It's in my DNA.
"It's a tough thing to think about. But, we've played our butts off for each other forever. For our whole adult lives some of us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Clearing the bases: Castellanos came up with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth with the Tigers holding a 1-0 lead after JaCoby Jones' RBI single. Castellanos worked the count full, then jumped on a Duffy changeup and sent it to left-field wall, over Alex Gordon's head. All three runners scored easily.
"I was just thinking, 'Nick, don't strike out here. Don't do that,'" Castellanos said. "Just try to stay short, early and hit something hard."
Working around trouble: Norris didn't encounter much traffic, but he did keep it scoreless in the third after the Royals threatened. Paulo Orlando, who homered later in the game, doubled with one out off the left-field wall. But Norris got Gordon on a flyout to right and then Whit Merrifield on a lineout to center.
"Paulo had that double and homer," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "And that was about all the offense we had. Five hits."
"It's been a rough September, a really rough one. Every time that you win, it's like, 'OK, we can do this.' And you go again. It's been hard, but I know that everybody's trying hard to do his job. Sometimes it doesn't go your way." -- Tigers infielder Dixon Machado
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Castellanos is one shy of 100 RBIs for the season. No homegrown Tigers player, drafted or signed from the amateur ranks, has hit the century mark in a season for the franchise since Bobby Higginson put up 102 RBIs in 2000.
Tigers: Left-hander Matthew Boyd (6-10, 5.12 ERA), by far the Tigers' best starter in September, wraps up his season at 8:10 p.m. ET on Friday when he starts the opener of a three-game series against the playoff-bound Twins at Target Field.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (4-13, 5.50) will make his final start of 2017 on Friday at 7:15 p.m CT when the Royals open the final series of the season against the D-backs. Kennedy will be trying to snap his club-record 18-game home winless streak at Kauffman Stadium.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.