KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Talk about limping to the finish line.
The Tigers won the baseball game Saturday night, stopping their five-game losing skid with a 4-3 win over the Royals, but in the process lost not one but two Castros early in the game.
They preserved the skinny lead with a makeshift infield that featured catcher Austin Romine at first base and utility man Brandon Dixon at second.
Shortstop Willi Castro strained his right shoulder on a pair of swings-and-misses in the second inning. He finished the at-bat - poking an RBI single up the middle - but was lifted for a pinch-runner.
Harold Castro, who started at first base, also hurt himself swinging, in the fourth inning. Initial report from the Tigers was lower back tightness.
Thus, the Tigers lost the first two hitters in their lineup by the fourth inning. Niko Goodrum moved from second base to shortstop and Dixon was inserted at second. Romine, who has played 20 games at first but none since 2017, was pretty much the only option to play first - other than DH Miguel Cabrera or former first baseman now reliever Nick Ramirez.
With first baseman Jeimer Candelario already on the injured list, the Tigers had no other infielder on the bench. Sergio Alcantara, who is with the team but on the taxi squad, will likely be activated for the game Sunday.
Before the Castros departed, the Tigers built an early lead, scoring three times in the first. With two outs, Goodrum singled home Harold Castro and Romine doubled in Cabrera and Goodrum.
After a walk to Isaac Paredes, rookie Derek Hill slapped a single to left - his first big league hit. Romine tried to make it Hill's first big-league RBI, too. Unfortunately, he tried to score from second against the arm of Royals left fielder Alex Gordon.
It ended up being a retirement gift for Gordon - who threw out Romine by a lot. It was the 102nd outfield assist for Gordon, who will play the final game of his career Sunday.