FINAL: TIGERS 10, ROYALS 2
The Tigers jumped all over the Royals and All-Star Jason Vargas in the early innings, giving Jordan Zimmermann a comfortable lead to work with as they cruised to an 10-2 in the first of a four-game series with the Royals in Kansas City.
After Ian Kinsler tripled in the second inning, Nick Castellanos' two-run, center field blast pushed the Tigers lead to 4-0.
Kinsler had two triples and a double, while Mikie Mahtook's two-run home run in the third inning gave the Tigers a big 6-0 lead that was never threatened.
Zimmermann pitched 6.2 innings, giving up a single run on seven hits and no walks. He struck out seven in what has to be considered his best start of the year.
Tomorrow's matchup: Matthew Boyd (2-5, 5.69) vs. Travis Wood (1-2, 6.06)
Top 9th: Tigers 10, Royals 2
Alex Presley doubled to right field to leadoff the inning, and Victor Martinez brought him home with an RBI single to give the Tigers a seemingly insurmountable 9-2 lead in the ninth.
Mikie Mahtook continued the hit parade off of former Tiger Neftali Feliz with a single to right field. Alex Avila grounded into a fielder's choice that moved the runners up to second and third, and the Tigers got another run on a shallow fly by Jose Igleisas that dropped into center field, pushing the lead to 10-2.
Ian Kinsler grounded into an inning-ending double play in the next at-bat.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 8, Royals 2
Eric Hosmer jumped all over an offering from Warwick Saupold and hit a long drive way over the fence in right field for a solo home run that cut the Tigers lead to 8-2.
After Saupold walked Drew Butera, Daniel Stumpf was brought on in relief. Stumpf got Mike Moustakas to line out to second and Ramon Torres to ground out to shortstop before walking Brandon Moss. With two men on, Alex Gordon flew out to left field to end the threat.
Top 8th: Tigers 8, Royals 1
Nick Castellanos struck out swinging, Justin Upton flew out to shallow center field and Miguel Cabrera grounded out to first as the Tigers went down in order against old friend Al Alburquerque.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 8, Royals 1
After hitting Alcides Escobar with a pitch to start the inning, Jordan Zimmermann was able to bounce back and get the next two outs, but he couldn't finish off the frame without giving up a little something. Whit Merrifield doubled to right-center for the first Kansas City run of the night, cutting the Tigers lead to 8-1, and chasing Zimmermann from the game at 97 pitches.
Warwick Saupold came into the game from the Tigers bullpen and hit Jorge Bonifacio, putting two men on for Kansas City. Saupold bounced back to get the pinch-hitting Billy Burns to fly out to shallow center field on a nice diving catch from Mikie Mahtook.
Top 7th: Tigers 8, Royals 0
Alex Presley led things off with a single to right field, and after Victor Martinez flew out to center field, Mikie Mahtook picked up an infield single on a high-chopper. Alex Avila reached base on an error, and the Tigers were able to add to their lead with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jose Iglesias in the next at-bat that made it 8-0.
Ian Kinsler grounded into a fielder's choice to end the frame.
J.D. Martinez leaves game due to lower back tightness, according to team
The Tigers are reporting that J.D. Martinez left tonight's game due to lower back tightness. There has been a lot of chatter on social media about whether the Tigers traded Martinez in the middle of tonight's game, though this report from the team will certainly settle those talks down for now...
Bottom 6th: Tigers 7, Royals 0
J.D. Martinez left the game for an unknown reason in between innings, leaving Alex Presley to run onto the field late as the Tigers got things going in the bottom of the frame.
There's no word yet on why Martinez left the game, but the trade speculation on social media is rampant.
On the field, Jordan Zimmermann continued to work his magic as he set the Royals down in order.
Top 6th: Tigers 7, Royals 0
Nick Castellanos grounded out to third, Justin Upton flew out to shallow center field and Miguel Cabrera grounded out to second as the Tigers went down in order against new Kansas City reliever Kevin McCarthy.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 7, Royals 0
Jorge Bonifacio reached on a two-out infield hit, but once again, Jordan Zimmermann let a man on base bother him too much, getting Lorenzo Cain to fly out to center field to end the inning.
Alex Gordon flew out to center field, and Whit Merrifield grounded out to shortstop for the first two outs of the inning.
Zimmermann's pitch count is at 76.
Top 5th: Tigers 7, Royals 0
Though they did put a man on base, the Tigers didn't score a run in an inning for the first time tonight.
Alex Avila worked a leadoff walk, but Jose Iglesias grounded into a fielder's choice, and Ian Kinsler grounded into an inning-ending double play to quickly end the frame.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 7, Royals 0
Alcides Escobar dropped a two-out single into center field, but that didn't phase Jordan Zimmermann, who got Brandon Moss to fly out to left field to end the frame.
Salvador Perez flew out to center field, and Mike Moustakas became Zimmermann's fifth strikeout victim for the first two outs of the inning.
Top 4th: Tigers 7, Royals 0
Justin Upton drew a leadoff walk from Scott Alexander. Upton moved up to second when Miguel Cabrera grounded into a fielder's choice. Though J.D. Martinez struck out swinging for the inning's second out, Victor Martinez picked up his namesake and brought Upton home with a single to left field that stretches the Tigers lead to 7-0.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 6, Royals 0
Alex Gordon led things off with a single to center field. After Whit Merrifield struck out swinging, Jorge Bonifacio popped out. Lorenzo Cain was able to drop a two-out single into center field to put runners on the corners, but Jordan Zimmermann again worked out of a tough situation by striking out Eric Hosmer to end the inning.
Top 3rd: Tigers 6, Royals 0
Victor Martinez led off the third with a single to center field, and just like Nick Castellanos in the previous inning, Mikie Mahtook felt the need to take things one step further than his teammate with a massive two-run shot to left field that ended up in the fountains of Kansas City and put the Tigers up 6-0.
After Alex Avila struck out looking, Jose Iglesias grounded out to third. But next up was Ian Kinsler, who drilled his second triple of the night to left field. That was enough for K.C. manager Ned Yost to remove Vargas from the game. Scott Alexander got Nick Castellanos to strike out swinging to end the frame.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 4, Royals 0
Eric Hosmer notched a leadoff single to center field. Salvador Perez was able to put Kansas City in business with a single of his own to left field, but Jordan Zimmermann bounced back to set the next three hitters down in order. Mike Moustakas popped out, Alcides Escobar struck out looking and Brandon Moss did the same.
Top 2nd: Tigers 4, Royals 0
Alex Avila drew a leadoff walk, and after Jose Iglesias struck out swinging, Ian Kinsler drilled another extra-base hit off of Jason Vargas, scoring Avila from first with an RBI triple to put the Tigers up 4-0.
Nick Castellanos did his teammate one better with a two-run home run to center field that stretched the lead to 4-0.
Justin Upton struck out swinging for the second out of the frame, but Miguel Cabrera was able to keep things alive when Vargas handed out his fourth free pass of the early going. Cabrera moved into scoring position on a Vargas balk, but J.D. Martinez grounded out back to the pitcher to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 1, Royals 0
Whit Merrifield flew out to center field, Jorge Bonifacio did the same and Lorenzo Cain flew out to center field as Jordan Zimmermann breezed through the opening frame.
Top 1st: Tigers 1, Royals 0
Ian Kinsler jumped on the first pitch he saw from Jason Vargas and crushed it to center field for a leadoff double. Nick Castellanos followed with a single to left field to put runners at the corners for Justin Upton, who grounded back to the pitcher. Kinsler was hung out to dry between third and home, but he held up the play long enough to allow the runners to get to second and third. Miguel Cabrera flew out to shallow left field, which was nearly deep enough for Castellanos to tag from third. J.D. Martinez was issued a free pass to first pass, giving Victor Martinez a chance to come up big with the bases loaded. Vargas couldn't find the strike zone as he walked in the first run of the night. Mikie Mahtook struck out looking in the next at-bat.
TIGERS AT ROYALS
First pitch: 8:15 p.m. Monday, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
Records: The Tigers are 41-49, fourth place in the American League Central Division, six games behind the Cleveland Indians, and six games out of a wild-card spot. The Royals are 45-45, third place in the AL Central, two games behind the Indians, and two games out of a wild-card spot.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Nick Castellanos, 3B
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. J.D. Martinez, RF
6. Victor Martinez, DH
7. Mikie Mahtook, CF
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
SP: Jordan Zimmermann, RHP
1. Whit Merrifield, 2B
2. Jorge Bonifacio, RF
3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Alcides Escobar, SS
8. Brandon Moss, DH
9. Alex Gordon, LF
SP: Jason Vargas, LHP