In Matthew Boyd’s return to the major league level after about six months in Toledo, the visiting Tigers pounced the Royals, 9-3.
The Tigers have now won four out of five since the All-Star Break, taking the first two games of the four-game series from the Royals.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Boyd, though.
After giving up four hits and three runs in the first inning, he rebounded to finish strong, pitching six full with only three hits allowed from the second to end of the sixth. He didn’t allow another run as he found his groove and got back on track.
This was Boyd’s third win of the season after his seven-month stint with AAA-Toledo.
On the other side, it was Travis Wood (4 1/3 innings) who got the start for the Royals. He struggled early and was knocked out in the fifth, allowing six earned runs on nine hits.
The Tigers notched 16 hits, marking their second consecutive game hitting the double-digit plateau. They have now outscored the Royals 19-5 in those two games.
Nick Castellanos led the way for Detroit, pulling his best J.D. Martinez impression, who was traded before the game, going 4-for-5 with two home runs, a triple and a career-high five RBIs. Every Tiger got into the hit column besides Dixon Machado who recorded an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas each recorded two hits to lead the Royals.
Justin Verlander (5-7, 4.66 ERA) will take the mound for the Tigers on Wednesday in game three. Jason Hammel (4-8, 5.02) is the Royals’ projected starter.
Bottom 9th: Tigers 9, Royals 3
Alex Wilson remained in the game, looking to eat some innings out of the bullpen.
Ramon Torres fouled out to Nick Castellanos before Whit Merrifield doubled to deep center. Jorge Bonifacio hit a slow grounder to short and Dixon Machado fired to first for the out. Merrifield moved up to third. Lorenzo Cain then flew out to J.D. Martinez's old position in right field, fittingly, for the final out.
Top 9th: Tigers 9, Royals 3
Another former Tiger reliever, Neftali Feliz, got tasked with the ninth inning for the Royals.
Miguel Cabrera, obviously struggling, popped out to start the inning. Mikie Mahtook flew out to shallow right field. Victor Martinez then blasted a pitch down the middle to right center field and off the top of the wall for a two-out double. James McCann looked to have an RBI single to left, but was robbed by a diving Alex Gordon.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 9, Royals 3
Alex Wilson got the eighth inning for the Tigers.
Eric Hosmer struck out swinging on a curveball that fell off the table. Salvador Perez singled sharply to center in the next at-bat. Mike Moustakas then grounded through the right side of the infield for a one-out single.
Alcides Escobar then hit a liner to center field for the second out. Alex Gordon then grounded out to second to end the eighth.
Top 8th: Tigers 9, Royals 3
Former Tigers Al Alburquerque entered the game for the Royals in relief.
James McCann sent the first pitch deep to center, but it was run down near the warning track. Alex Presley singled to center but was forced out at second after the next batter, Dixon Machado, grounded into a fielder's choice.
Ian Kinsler recorded his second hit of the game, drilling a liner through the left side of the infield. Scorching-hot Nick Castellanos remained as such, hitting a line drive to center, recording his fifth RBI as Machado crossed the plate. Justin Upton ended the top of the eighth with a groundout to third.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 8, Royals 3
Shane Greene took the mound, replacing Matthew Boyd after six strong innings.
It only took four pitches to walk leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield, but he came back to get Jorge Bonifacio out on strikes. On a grounder up the middle, Dixon Machado turned a 6-4-3 double play on Lorenzo Cain to head to the eighth up five runs.
Top 7th: Tigers 8, Royals 3
Mike Minor entered the game in relief for the Royals.
Nick Castellanos remained hot, smacking his second home run of the game, this one to center, on a 1-2 count. Justin Upton followed the leadoff homer up with a double. He then stole third, but with a throwing error by Royals catcher Salvador Perez, he scored.
Miguel Cabrera grounded out to third, Mikie Mahtook struck out swinging on a questionable pitch and Victor Martinez also stuck out swinging to end action-packed top half.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 6, Royals 3
Looking to squeeze at least six innings in a quality start out, Matthew Boyd needed a quick frame.
Salvador Perez lined out to right for the first out and Mike Moustakas struck out for two quick ones. Alcides Escobar walked on four pitches, though, and Alex Gordon singled to center. After a mound visit, he got Ramon Torres to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat.
Top 6th: Tigers 6, Royals 3
Peter Moylan stayed in the game for the Royals on the mound.
James McCann recorded the first hit off the reliever, singling to center to lead off the top of the sixth. Alex Presley then lined out to center. Dixon Machado struck out swinging. Ian Kinsler then flew out to center.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 6, Royals 3
Jorge Bonifacio grounded out to third, Lorenzo Cain popped out to second and Eric Hosmer flew out to left to end a quick inning.
Top 5th: Tigers 6, Royals 3
Ian Kinsler started things off with a line drive out to center before Nick Castellanos blasted his second home run in as many games over the left field wall.
Justin Upton singled to left field with one out. Miguel Cabrera then notched his second hit of the game with a single to left as well.
Peter Moylan entered the game in relief for Travis Wood.
The first batter after the pitching change, Mikie Mahtook flew out to right field and Upton advanced to third on the play. Victor Martinez then grounded out to second.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 5, Royals 3
Matt Boyd continued to ease into his groove.
Alcides Escobar fouled out to first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Alex Gordon then struck out swinging. Ramon Torres notched a two-out single to right field. Whit Merrifield then grounded to third, ending the fourth.
Top 4th: Tigers 5, Royals 3
James McCann grounded out to shortstop for the first out. Alex Presley then flew out to left field. Dixon Machado then grounded out to third for the second straight 1-2-3 inning.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 5, Royals 3
Lorenzo Cain lined out, marking five straight retired batters. That was quickly ended by Eric Hosmer who singled to left. Salvador Perez grounded into the third fielder's choice of the game, forcing Hosmer out at second.
Mike Moustakas ended the third by popping out to second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Top 3rd: Tigers 5, Royals 3
Miguel Cabrera grounded out to second and Mikie Mahtook grounded out to short for the first two quick outs of the top half. Victor Martinez followed their lead, grounding out to third.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 5, Royals 3
After a long rest, Matthew Boyd got back to work.
Ramon Torres grounded out to third to bring up the top of the order. Whit Merrifield then lined out to right fielder Alex Presley. Jorge Bonifacio then fouled out to James McCann to end the inning.
Top 2nd: Tigers 5, Royals 3
The Tigers needed an offensive push following an early three-run deficit.
Miguel Cabrera singled to right field to lead off the second for the Tigers' first hit. Mikie Mahtook doubled on a sharp line drive to left, but it wasn't far enough to score Cabrera.
With runners on second and third, Victor Martinez came up big with a single, scoring both Mahtook and Cabrera with no outs. James McCann then singled on a grounder through the left side of the infield.
Alex Presley grounded into a fielder's choice as McCann was forced out at second. On the second pitch, Dixon Machado hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Martinez. Ian Kinsler kept the inning rolling with a double to left field and Presley was stopped at third. In the theme of piling on, Nick Castellanos tripled to right, scoring both baserunners and giving the Tigers their first lead.
Justin Upton finished the scoring threat with a groundout to third.
Bottom 1st: Royals 3, Tigers 0
Matthew Boyd took the mound for the Tigers for the first time since May 31.
Location was an issue early as Whit Merrifield was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the inning. Jorge Bonifacio added some early pressure with a single to center. Lorenzo Cain grounded into a fielder's choice as Miguel Cabrera threw to second to get Bonifacio for the first out.
Eric Hosmer took an outside pitch and singled softly up the middle, scoring Merrifield and advancing Cain to third. Salvador Perez then hit a sacrifice fly to left, plating Cain. Mike Moustakas piled on with another single to left. Alcides Escobar followed him up with an RBI single on a line drive to right.
Alex Gordon ended the lengthy inning with a swinging strikeout.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Travis Wood got the start for the Royals, sporting a 5.94 ERA.
Ian Kinsler kicked off the game with a fly out to right field, Nick Castellanos struck out swinging and Justin Upton popped out to right to end a quick first inning.
Matthew Boyd is back where his season took a detour.
Boyd will start for the Tigers on Tuesday night as they take on the Kansas City Royals in the second game of a four-game series. First pitch is at 8:15 p.m.
It'll be Boyd's first appearance for the Tigers since a May 31 start, also in Kansas City, where he couldn't survive the fourth inning in a 6-5 Tigers victory. Boyd (2-5, 5.69 ERA) eventually was sent to Triple-A Toledo, where he went 3-3 with a 2.82 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in eight starts for the Mud Hens.
He returns to a team that has won three straight, including Monday's series-opening 10-2 romp. The Tigers still have plenty of ground to make up if they're to climb back into the AL Central and/or wild-card race, an effort that might be too late as trade rumors swirl.
The Tigers will face Royals left-hander Travis Wood (1-2, 6.06 ERA) who is making his second start of the season and 27th appearance. None have come against the Tigers.
TIGERS AT ROYALS
First pitch: 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
Records: The Tigers are 42-49, fourth place in the American League Central, six games behind the Cleveland Indians, and five games out of a wild-card spot. The Royals are 45-46, third place in the AL Central, three 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. Mikie Mahtook, CF
6. Victor Martinez, DH
7. James McCann, C
7. Alex Presley, RF
9. Dixon Machado, SS
SP: Matthew Boyd, LHP
1. Whit Merrifield, RF
2. Jorge Bonifacio, DH
3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Alcides Escobar, SS
8. Alex Gordon, LF
9. Ramon Torres, 2B
SP: Travis Wood, LHP