Cabrera ejected, Tigers steamrolled by Royals
Kansas City — If the beat-downs in Toronto were embarrassing in manager Brad Ausmus’ estimation, what was this?
The Tigers were shellacked and steamrolled by the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, 12-1. The Royals emptied their bench like a basketball team would in the fifth inning.
The Royals hit four home runs (the sixth time the Tigers have allowed at least four in a game) and had 34 total bases before the sixth inning.
The only semblance of fight the Tigers showed came in a negative form. Starting pitcher Randy Wolf, seemingly in retaliation for Ian Kinsler getting drilled in the back by a 98 mph fastball from Royals starter Yordano Ventura, hit Salvador Perez with an 85 mph pitch in the second inning.
“I had my doubts about it,” Ausmus said of Ventura’s pitch that hit Kinsler.
Kinsler didn’t want to talk about it.
“Go ask him,” he said, meaning Ventura.
Ventura, who instigated a couple of on-field scraps earlier this season, denied hitting Kinsler on purpose. And Kinsler said he didn't have any prior bad history with Ventura.
Here was Wolf’s take:
“Getting hit by a pitch is part of the game,” he said. “If you look at the inning, I had (Kendrys) Morales 0-2, tried to go in with a fastball and left it over the middle. He got a single up the middle. Against (Jonny) Gomes, I tried to go down and away and I put the fastball right down the middle. He hits a double.
“So with a dangerous hitter like Perez, I don’t want to leave it down the middle. I tried to go in. I didn’t want to leave it over the plate and I hit him.”
Perez squawked. Both benches were warned. But the Royals were undeterred. They went on to score two runs that inning and were just heating up.
Then came Miguel Cabrera’s ejection in the fourth inning. He was called out on strikes on a pitch that looked to be high and tight. He argued demonstrably with home plate ump Quinn Wolcott.
“It’s a bad call, man,” Cabrera said afterward.
Wolcott gave Cabrera a wide berth. J.D. Martinez, Victor Martinez and Ausmus finally got between him and Wolcott and began escorting Cabrera back to the dugout.
Cabrera, though, motioned at and appeared to say something to third base ump and crew chief Gary Cederstrom. Cederstom ejected him immediately.
“I try to do my job,” Cabrera said. “I try to get on base. We got a long game so if you try to do your job and the umpire don’t let you do it, why do we play this game? Why are we there, if we try so hard for (this game), and they throw you out whenever they want to throw you out?
“That’s his fault, that’s not my fault. He calls pitches down, inside, up and in. That’s not my fault. I’m just doing my job, that’s it.”
Cabrera, bat in hand, slowly walked out toward Cederstrom after he was tossed and got in a few exit points before leaving the field. It was his seventh career ejection.
“Yeah, because he had nothing to do with that play,” Cabrera said of Cederstrom. “(Basically) you're going to write something and Major League Baseball is going to fine me, so I don’t care. What am I going to do?”
The rest of the night was like extended batting practice for the Royals.
Wolf, who had quality starts in his first two outings with the Tigers, was lit up for eight runs and eight hits in 3-2/3 innings. He gave up home runs to Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain. Cain also got him for a two-run double.
“It was tough and I made it especially tough on myself,” Wolf said. “I really struggled with my command tonight. I wasn’t able to get ahead of guys and when I did, I made mistakes, whether it was 0-2 or first pitch. I just had really bad command tonight.”
Wolf was bad. Reliever Guido Knudson was historically bad.
The first batter he faced, Kendrys Morales, blasted a three-run homer to center field. In the fifth, he gave up the first career major league homer by Cheslor Cuthbert.
Knudson has allowed at least one home run in his first four major league appearances (five total). According to STATS Research, he is the only major league reliever to accomplish that dubious feat.
Knudson was charged with four runs and four hits. He only got one batter out.
“He’s going through a tough spell,” Ausmus said. “Certainly as a first time major league player, it can be very disheartening to go through this. We’ve got to do our best to pick him up.”
Buck Farmer, who had been in the rotation, came on in the fifth and quieted the Royals at least somewhat. He put up the first two scoreless innings for the Tigers, in the sixth and seventh.
Ausmus said a corresponding move in the rotation will be announced on Thursday. It’s possible left-hander Kyle Ryan will replace Farmer in the rotation, possibly starting Friday night against the Indians.