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Vargas can't find zone in another tough start

Royals left-hander logs just 2 2/3 innings in loss to Tigers
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- For the second straight outing, Royals All-Star left-hander Jason Vargas struggled to find the strike zone consistently.

And when Vargas did hit the strike zone, he got hit hard. On Monday, Vargas gave up six runs and seven hits through 2 2/3 innings in a 10-2 loss to the Tigers.

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KANSAS CITY -- For the second straight outing, Royals All-Star left-hander Jason Vargas struggled to find the strike zone consistently.

And when Vargas did hit the strike zone, he got hit hard. On Monday, Vargas gave up six runs and seven hits through 2 2/3 innings in a 10-2 loss to the Tigers.

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"I mean, I was having a hard time finding the part of the strike zone that would get me back in the counts," Vargas said. "I wasn't really competitive at all. Left a lot of pitches out over the middle."

The Tigers hit everything Vargas had to offer.

Ian Kinsler hit a two-seam fastball for a double, a four-seam fastball for a triple, and a changeup for another triple.

Mike Mahtook drilled a two-run homer off a Vargas two-seamer. Nicholas Castellano blasted a two-run home run on a Vargas changeup. It didn't seem to matter what Vargas threw.

"It was kind of similar to my last outing," Vargas said. "I just wasn't able to give us much to work with."

In his last start before the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, Vargas gave up eight hits and six runs over five innings to Seattle.

"When you're getting into counts where you're putting yourself into a position where you have to put certain pitches in the strike zone, there's less room for error," Vargas said. "It was a run of those types of situations again, and I couldn't recover."

Vargas appeared to get squeezed early on in the lower part of the strike zone.

"It's all about being able to get into a rhythm, and I just wasn't able to do that in the strike zone, apparently," Vargas said.

Then again, Vargas, whose ERA rose to its highest point of the season at 3.06, simply wasn't sharp, either.

"His pitches were kind of flat," manager Ned Yost said. "Just one of those nights for him."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Jason Vargas