Live Tigers blog: Royals sweep Tigers in ugly affair

Bruce Mason
The Detroit News

The Royals scored nine runs in the seventh inning en route to a 16-2 thumping to complete the sweep of the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer was 5-for-6 with a grand slam and six RBIs.

The Tigers had as many balks as runs scored — two.

Bottom 9: Avila, Mahtook strike out with bases loaded

Royals right-handed reliever Brandon Maurer received a warning from the home plate umpire to start the inning, issued a strike out to Alex Presley, and then the Tigers decided to load the bases.

And just as the ugly night predicted, both Alex Avila and Mikie Mahtook struck out to end the game.

Top 9: Benches clear

Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon hit Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas with a pitch and the benches cleared in the top of the ninth. Brief pushing and shoving ensued and Rondon was ejected from the game.

And if the night could not get any more bizarre, it featured Andrew Romine on the mound as a relief pitcher. (Yes, Andrew Romine.)

During the bench-clearing situation, Royals pitcher Danny Duffy was the most visibly upset, and was held back.

Rondon gave up a single to Lorenzo Cain, who then advanced to second on Rondon’s balk. From there, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer hit an RBI single.

That's when Moustakas came to the plate and was hit in the leg by Rondon as the shouting unfolded.

Hosmer is 5-for-6 tonight with six RBIs.

But the stat of the night is this: The Tigers have as many balks as runs — two.

Romine, who made his third career appearance on the mound, walked Brandon Moss, gave up an RBI single to Ramon Torres and then a sacrifice fly to Alex Gordon to make it 16-2 Royals.

Romine hit Drew Butera with a pitch — although it was an 83.5 mph change-up, not the 98.8 mph fastball that Moustakas absorbed.

The Royals finished with 22 hits.

Bottom 8: Quick inning

It was an easy inning for Royals reliever Ryan Buchter.

Tigers catcher James McCann saw one pitch (fly out). Dixon Machado saw two pitches (ground out). And in between, Jose Iglesias saw five pitches, yet he grounded out, too.

It's 13-2 Royals after eight innings.

Top 8: Stumpf extends streak to 10.1 innings

Tigers left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf has another scoreless inning in the books. He has not given up an earned run since July 1. That’s 10.1 innings without giving up a run.

This time, he had to work a little harder for it.

Stumpf gave up a leadoff walk to Royals designated hitter Brandon Moss and Ramon Torres singled to place two runners on base with no outs.

Stumpf, however, buckled down. He struck out Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, induced a fly out from catcher Drew Butera and then got Whit Merrifield to ground into a fielder’s choice.

The Royals lead 13-2 after the top of the eighth. They have 19 hits.

Bottom 7: A measly run

Too little, too late at Comerica Park.

The Tigers scored a run — and now it’s 13-2 Royals after seven innings.

Andrew Romine and Nick Castellanos hit back-to-back singles off Royals reliever Scott Alexander. From there, Alex Avila grounded into a double play to score Romine (who, by the way, subbed for .257-hitting Miguel Cabrera).

Top 7: Meltdown unfolds in 9-run Royals rout

The floodgates have opened for the Royals at Comerica Park, who lead 13-1 in the top of the seventh.

The Royals have scored nine runs in the inning  — yes, nine runs in the inning — highlighted by Eric Hosmer's grand slam to one of the deepest parts of Comerica Park in right-center field.

The culprits? Chad Bell, who gave up five earned runs. Warwick Saupold, who gave up four hits and four earned runs.

And don't forget Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

Here's how the meltdown began: Royals centerfielder Lorenzo Cain doubled off Bell to start the inning (stay tuned: He batted again).

From there, Hosmer (in his first at-bat, remember) hit a grounder to Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who was shifted toward second base. Bell, who was covering the bag at first base, lost the foot race with Hosmer by a sizable distance.

The ugliness was just beginning.

Mike Moustakas followed with an RBI single, and two batters later, Alcides Escobar hit a scorching double off the left-field wall to make it 6-1.

At that point, it was more than clear that Bell needed to exit the game, yet he stayed in to face Alex Gordon, who was plunked on the first pitch. That loaded the bases with one out.

Saupold entered and the damage continued.

Drew Butera hit a two-RBI single, Whit Merrifield hit an RBI single, and then Hosmer delivered a grand slam to make it 13-1.

It's a wonder why Ausmus did not start the inning with left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf, who has not given up a hit in his past 4 2/3 innings entering tonight.

Instead, Ausmus decided to bring Bell back to the mound for the top of the seventh inning, and the Royals took advantage.

Three straight hits — not a move up the steps for Ausmus. Another hit — and Bell stayed in the game.

Bell, who needed to exit at that point, then beaned Gordon, and finally, Ausmus made a change.

And then Saupold was knocked around, too.

Twelve Royals came to the plate in perhaps the worst inning of the season. But it shouldn't be a surprise, given the Royals scored 16 runs in a game last week against the Tigers.

Bottom 6: Frustration mounts

The frustration is visible. Earlier tonight, Miguel Cabrera showed it. And now it's Justin Upton, who sported a look of disgust after hitting an inning-ending ground out.

It’s 4-1 Royals after six innings.

Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy has relinquished three hits and two walks through six innings. He’s given up one earned run and struck out four.

In the bottom of the sixth, Kennedy retired Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (line out) and right fielder Alex Presley (ground out), and then Upton, who slammed his helmet in the process.

Presley is now 0-for-14 in his career against Kennedy.

Top 6: Bell gets 1-2-3 inning

Tigers left-handed reliever Chad Bell performed a 1-2-3 inning — a rare sight tonight.

Bell retired Royals catcher Drew Butera (pop out), second baseman Whit Merrifield (fly out) and right fielder Jorge Bonifacio (fly out).

The Royals lead 4-1 after the top of the sixth.

Bell has given up one hit in 2 1/3 innings tonight.

Bottom 5: Mahtook extends hit streak to 11 games

The good news: The Tigers got on the board and trail the Royals 4-1 after five innings.

The bad news: Another baserunning blunder unfolded.

Jose Igelsias ripped a pitch down the left field line to score Mikie Mahtook, but the inning ended with Iglesias stopped well short of third base, tagged and out, a sight that has been all too familiar in recent games.

Mahtook singled with one out to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. It ties the longest streak by a Tiger this season (Nick Castellanos, May 31-June 13).

Mahtook is hitting .400 during the streak (16-for-40).

Top 5: Bell closes door

Tigers left-handed reliever Chad Bell gave up a leadoff single to Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, but he left the mound without giving up a run.

It's 4-0 Royals after the top of the fifth.

Royals designated hitter Brandon Moss lined out. From there, Bell induced back-to-back ground balls from shortstop Alcides Escobar (fielder’s choice; Moustakas out at second) and left fielder Alex Gordon.

Bottom 4: Miggy grounds into double play

Another ugly inning.

Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy issued a leadoff walk to Justin Upton, but Tigers slugger-turned-slumper Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play.

From there, Nick Castellanos struck out to end the inning. His slump has extended to 0-for-20 dating back to Saturday.

It’s 4-0 Royals after four innings.

Kennedy has given up one hit. He’s struck out four and walked two on 63 pitches.

Tigers' Miguel Cabrera reacts after he is called out on strikes in the first inning.

Top 4: Sanchez pulled

Nine hits. Four earned runs. Two walks. And a balk.

That's the outing for Tigers right-handed starter Anibal Sanchez, who was pulled in the top of the fourth inning.

It's 4-0 Royals at Comerica Park.

Tigers left-handed reliever Chad Bell entered the game to face Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and induced a ground out to end the inning with runners on the corners.

Sanchez threw 87 pitches. He gave up five singles in a three-run third inning.

Bottom 3: More fly outs

Catcher James McCann singled for the Tigers’ first hit of the night to lead off the inning, but he never got any farther on the basepaths.

It’s 4-0 Royals after three innings at Comerica Park.

Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy induced fly outs from shortstop Jose Iglesias and second baseman Ian Kinsler. Tigers right fielder Alex Presley struck out to end the inning.

Presley is now 0-for-13 in his career against Kennedy, yet Tigers manager Brad Ausmus decided to bat him in the No. 2 spot.

Top 3: Balk, five hits hurt Sanchez

Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez was charged with a balk, five singles and three runs in the top of the third inning.

It’s 4-0 Royals at Comerica Park.

Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield led off the inning with a single and then advanced to second on a balk by Sanchez.

The Tigers paid for it, too. Royals right fielder Jorge Bonifacio followed with an RBI single and advanced to second base when Detroit left fielder Justin Upton tried to throw out Merrifield at the plate.

From there, Bonifacio moved to third on a ground out, and then scored when first baseman Eric Hosmer hit an RBI single.

One pitch later, Brandon Moss singled to make it 4-0.

Sanchez has thrown 68 pitches through three innings. He’s given up eight hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts.

Bottom 2: Six straight retired

Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy has retired six straight Tigers hitters.

It's 1-0 Royals after two innings.

In the bottom of the second, Kennedy induced three straight fly outs from Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos, designated hitter Victor Martinez and centerfielder Mikie Mahtook.

The Tigers have yet to record a hit.

Top 2: Infield single, stolen base trigger lead

Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar had zero hits in 15 straight at-bats entering tonight, but he ended the slump with a two-out, RBI single.

It's 1-0 Royals after the top of the second inning. And it could have been worse.

Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez earned the second out of the inning when he struck out designated hitter Brandon Moss (who hurt the Tigers last week with six RBIs in two games).

But Escobar followed with a base hit to score Eric Hosmer from second base. From there, Sanchez walked Alex Gordon and he nearly coughed up a three-run homer to Drew Butera, but he missed the foul pole by a few feet and struck out to end the threat.

Sanchez has thrown 48 pitches through two innings.

Hosmer reached base on an infield single, then stole second base to get into scoring position.

Bottom 1: Cabrera, Upton strike out

Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy got into trouble with a four-pitch leadoff walk issued to Ian Kinsler, but he recovered by retiring three straight Tigers.

It's 0-0 after the first inning at Comerica Park.

Tigers right fielder Alex Presley — who is batting No. 2 yet again — hit a pop fly for the first out of the inning. From there, Kennedy struck out Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera — both looking —  to end the threat.

Top 1: Challenge overturns call

Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez threw a scoreless inning — with the help of a replay.

Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield hit a leadoff single, but moments later, he took a sizable lead off first base, tried to retreat to the bag, and was picked off by Tigers catcher James McCann.

Merrifield was initially ruled safe, but the Tigers challenged the call and it was overturned.

Sanchez ended the inning by retiring right fielder Jorge Bonifacio (pop out) and centerfielder Lorenzo Cain (fly out).

Sanchez takes the mound

The Tigers have lost four straight games to the Royals, dating back to last week in Kansas City. There's been a 16-4 rout, a 12-inning defeat and last night's double-baserunning blunder.

In the top of the first, Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez will face Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield, right fielder Jorge Bonifacio and centerfielder Lorenzo Cain.

In his past 35.0 innings, Sanchez has a 1.09 WHIP and .238 opponents average.

He also has a history of success against Kansas City. Among active pitchers with at least 10 starts vs. the Royals, Sanchez's 2.66 ERA ranks second (first: Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, 1.84 ERA).

Different directions

The Tigers will turn to starter Anibal Sanchez to help snap the Royals' seven-game win streak and avoid a sweep Wednesday night.

First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. (FSD, 97.1) at Comerica Park.

The Tigers dropped the first two games of the three-game series and are looking to salvage the finale after the Royals struck early against Michael Fulmer and late mistakes cost the Tigers in Tuesday's 3-1 loss.

The good news is the Tigers have won each of the past four games Sanchez has started.

In his last outing, Sanchez scattered six hits and gave up three runs and three walks with five strikeouts over 5.2 innings in a 6-3 win against the Twins last week.


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1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Alex Presley, RF

3. Justin Upton, LF

4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Victor Martinez, DH

7. Mikie Mahtook, CF

8. James McCann, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Anibal Sanchez, RHP


1. Whit Merrifield, 2B

2. Jorge Bonifacio, RF

3. Lorenzo Cain, CF

4. Eric Hosmer, 1B

5. Mike Moustakas, 3B

6. Brandon Moss, DH

7. Alcides Escobar, SS

8. Alex Gordon, LF

9. Drew Butera, C

Ian Kennedy, RHP