DETROIT -- Eric Hosmer ripped five hits, including his first career grand slam, and the Royals pounded out a season-high 22 hits en route to a 16-2 blowout of the Tigers on Wednesday night at Comerica Park, thus sweeping the three-game series.The Royals won their season-high eighth straight game and
DETROIT -- Eric Hosmer ripped five hits, including his first career grand slam, and the Royals pounded out a season-high 22 hits en route to a 16-2 blowout of the Tigers on Wednesday night at Comerica Park, thus sweeping the three-game series.
The Royals won their season-high eighth straight game and remained 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Indians in the American League Central.
"We got the off-day tomorrow, and we need it," Royals manager Ned Yost said, "but you almost wish we could keep playing and take it another time."
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
The benches and bullpens emptied in the ninth when Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon plunked Mike Moustakas in the hip -- Moustakas then walked with a purpose toward the mound. No punches were thrown but Rondon was ejected, and utility man Andrew Romine then came on to pitch.
The Royals were still upset in the clubhouse afterward.
"That was interesting, man," said Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, who came out of the dugout and had to be restrained. "That's the second time [Rondon's] done that. If he doesn't want to compete in a situation that's not sexy, they should just send his [rear] home."
Added Hosmer: "First of all, you're talking about a guy who has 29 home runs and we're in a pennant race. If he hits [Moustakas] in the wrist, it can really jeopardize our season."
Right-hander Ian Kennedy worked six innings, giving up three hits and one earned run while walking two and striking out four.
"I wasn't too good to start with -- four-pitch walk to start the game," Kennedy said. "But I stayed with it. And it's kind of nice to be taken out and have your guys have a nine-run inning."
Whit Merrifield, Lorenzo Cain and Moustakas each had three hits for the Royals.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits and four runs.
"We got our [butts] kicked. That's basically what it was," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Grand inning: Hosmer's grand slam capped the scoring in a nine-run seventh inning that put the game out of reach. Hosmer, who had six RBIs on the night, jumped on a 1-0 changeup from reliever Warwick Saupold and drilled it into the right-field seats for his 16th home run this season -- Statcast™ projected it would have traveled 408 feet. Hosmer had his second career five-hit game with an RBI single an inning later.
"I think my last grand slam was in high school or the Minors," Hosmer said. "But that's baseball -- my first three hits I didn't exactly square up. Then I did."
Inning-ender: Believe it or not, it was a fairly close game in the fifth when Jose Iglesias ripped a two-out double into the left-field corner, scoring Michael Mahtook, and bringing the Tigers to within 4-1 with the top of the order coming up. But Iglesias kept running past second and Hosmer cut the relay throw home, then flipped the ball to third, where Moustakas tagged out Iglesias standing up.
"Mental mistakes are part of the game," Ausmus said, "and the last couple days, we've had too many of them."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Romine moved over from first base to pitch in the top of the ninth, then batted in the bottom of the ninth. He became the first Tiger to get an at-bat as a pitcher at Comerica Park since Shane Halter played all nine positions on Oct. 1, 2000.
"You are going to have some games like that. There's just some things that happened today that aren't good. We don't want to see those happen. That's not how we play. That's not how we go about things." -- Mahtook
A challenge from Ausmus gained a first-inning out for Sanchez after replay showed Jose Cabrera tagged Merrifield before Merrifield could reach the bag. First-base umpire Sam Holbrook initially ruled that Merrifield beat James McCann's pickoff throw, but a 1-minute review reversed the call.
Royals: After an off-day Thursday, the Royals open a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday at 6:10 p.m CT. Left-hander Jason Vargas (12-4, 3.08 ERA) will take the mound for the Royals. Vargas went five-plus innings Saturday against the White Sox and gave up two runs and seven hits.
Tigers: Following Thursday's off-day, the Astros come to Detroit for a three-game series beginning with a 7:10 p.m. ET matchup Friday. Jordan Zimmermann (6-8, 5.81) will take the mound opposite Dallas Keuchel, who returns from the disabled list for Houston.
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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.