Detroit — This will probably be a funny story for Tyson Ross to tell his son Jordan one day.
Not anytime soon, for sure, but maybe one day.
About his first start after Jordan was born, going out to face the Kansas City Royals. Not only had Ross not pitched in 10 days, he was up all night tending to a crying Jordan.
“I asked him how his night went,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said before Saturday's game. “He said as soon as his wife nodded off and went to sleep, the baby woke up. He had him all night. I told him, ‘You’ll get plenty more of that.’ ”
His outing was shorter, but just as fraught.
Ross lasted 13 hitters and recorded four outs — one was a gift (a bunt). The others produced five runs and seven hits, which ended up being just the appetizer as the Royals went on to feast on Tigers pitching in a 15-3 romp.
"I put the team in a bad position and never gave us a chance to win," Ross said. "It'd been awhile since I've been on the bump. This is a little bump in the road here but I'm looking forward to getting back to work, back on my routine and getting back on rhythm."
The Royals ended up hitting for the cycle against Ross. Whit Merrifield and Jorge Soler doubled, three others singled and Alex Gordon launched a two-run, opposite-field home run in the first inning. Then, after the first of two, four-pitch walks issued by Ross in the second inning, Adalberto Mondesi tripled.
"Sometimes you don't start out the way you like but you can right the ship," Ross said. "Today just wasn't my day. I made a couple good pitches and they found holes, and I made some bad pitches and they whacked them.
"That's baseball. I just have to prepare and be better next time."
Long night, short day for Ross.
Long, long day for the Tigers pitching staff.
Five pitchers combined to produce a very dubious triple-double — 15 runs, 19 hits and 10 walks. Kelvin Gutierrez had four hits for the Royals and Merrifield and Mondesi combined for four hits,15 total bases and four RBIs.
Gordon had three hits and knocked in five runs.
"The biggest thing is, the series is 1-1 and we have a chance to win it tomorrow," shortstop Jordy Mercer said. "That's all you can ask for. This one is over and everybody is showering it off.
"Get it out of your system and get ready to go tomorrow."
Reed Garrett, the Rule 5 rookie, and Jose Fernandez, who had only pitched in two games before Saturday and a total of 2/3 of an inning, each gave up a pair of runs.
The Royals scored six times and batted around for the second time in the game in the eighth inning against right-hander Drew VerHagen. VerHagen gave up five hits and three walks in the inning.
He was designated for assignment after the game.
"The ballgame was ugly from the get-go," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Ross looked like he'd been away. With all these days off (10), he looked a little out of whack. He was misfiring all over the place and they jumped him.
"And it just continued from there. Obviously, an ugly day where you are just trying to survive through it."
There was one bright spot on the day for the Tigers. Right-hander Zac Reininger pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. In his previous three outings, he’d been bashed for seven runs in 1 2/3 innings.
In those outings, he threw 64% fastballs, and hitters were 7 for 9 against that pitch. On Saturday, he had better balance, 14 fastballs and 13 sliders.
He showed some moxie, too. After a one-out walk, Gordon hit a liner that went off the glove of second baseman Ronny Rodriguez. It was scored a single and Mondesi sped to third. Undaunted, Reininger got Hunter Dozier to bang into a 4-6-3 double-play to end the threat.
Jeimer Candelario, who had two hits and extended his on-base streak to 17 games, hit his first home run of the year, a 396-foot, two-run shot into the right-field seats. It was his first homer in 183 plate appearances.
Rodriguez blasted his third home run of the season in the eighth.