KANSAS CITY -- Nicholas Castellanos had four hits, including two home runs and a triple, and drove in five runs, and the Tigers erased an early three-run deficit in cruising to a 9-3 win over the Royals on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.Just before game time, the Tigers traded J.D.
KANSAS CITY -- Nicholas Castellanos had four hits, including two home runs and a triple, and drove in five runs, and the Tigers erased an early three-run deficit in cruising to a 9-3 win over the Royals on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Just before game time, the Tigers traded J.D. Martinez to the D-backs for three prospects, but now have pulled within two games of the third-place Royals, who have lost seven of eight, in the American League Central. The Tigers' four-game winning streak matches their longest of the season from late May.
"It's kind of where we're at as a team right now," Castellanos said. "We're coming together. We all want to win. Everybody's counting us out, so we're playing right now with a chip on our shoulder."
Left-hander Matthew Boyd survived a shaky start in which he gave up five first-inning singles and three runs. Boyd went six innings and allowed seven hits and three runs in his first start in the Major Leagues since May 31, also at Kauffman Stadium. Boyd came in with a 9.11 ERA against the Royals in seven appearances.
"He just kept enticing us with fastballs off the plate," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "And we just kept swinging."
Royals left-hander Travis Wood lasted only 4 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and six runs. He gave up five of the runs in the second inning.
"They just put a rally together in that second," Wood said. "I couldn't stop bleeding. That can't happen, especially after we put three up in the first. We needed a shutdown inning."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The go-ahead triple: With the score tied at 3 in the second inning and two out and two on, Castellanos sliced a short fly toward the right-field line. Royals right fielder Whit Merrifield nearly made a fully-extended diving grab, but the ball popped out of his glove as he hit the ground and Castellanos raced to third with a two-run triple to make it 5-3.
"It was a huge inning," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "To have them score three and then to come back and score five, to me that was the turning point in the game. The turning point usually doesn't come that early."
One last hope: The Royals, trailing 6-3 in the sixth, made a little noise and threatened to creep back in the game. With two out, Alcides Escobar walked and Alex Gordon followed with a single to right-center, sending Escobar to third. But Boyd got Ramon Torres to tap out to shortstop on a force play to end the threat. The Tigers then added two in the seventh and one in the eighth to put matters out of reach.
"My goal is to go out there and execute pitches," Boyd said. "We responded as a team and just kept going forward after that."
"Same thing as the beginning of the year, man. Just stuff's falling now. There's no adjustment. There's no secret. There's no nothing. Baseball. Underlined." -- Castellanos, on his recent hitting tear
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Gordon's diving catch to end the top of the ninth inning was a five-star catch, according to Statcast™, his first of the season. He covered 33 feet with 2.8 seconds of opportunity time.
The Tigers challenged a call at first base in the fourth inning when catcher James McCann was ruled out on a tag at first by Eric Hosmer, who took an errant throw from shortstop Escobar. The call was ruled as stands.
Tigers: Right-hander Justin Verlander (5-7, 4.66 ERA) takes the ball at 8:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday for the third game of this series, looking for his first win since beating the Royals on June 27 at Comerica Park. He's 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA in three starts in July.
Royals: Right-hander Jason Hammel (4-8, 5.02) will take the mound against the Tigers at 7:15 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium. Hammel had a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Friday night before departing after 5 2/3 innings having given up three runs and four hits.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.