Royals' 4 homers, Ventura's 11 K's tame Tigers
KANSAS CITY -- Rookie Cheslor Cuthbert homered and had four RBIs, Kendrys Morales and Lorenzo Cain each homered and had three RBIs, and right-hander Yordano Ventura matched a career high with 11 strikeouts as the Royals pummeled the Tigers in a 12-1 win on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Ventura pitched seven strong innings, giving up just five hits and one run. It was his fifth straight quality start -- he's posted a 1.13 ERA over that span. And his 11 K's matched his previous outing.
"I felt like I never really lost confidence," Ventura said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "I just got into a bad rut for a little while that I had to overcome, like every player goes through at some point in time in their career. I credit the coaches that work with me and all the people that have helped me throughout the course of this year."
Added Royals manager Ned Yost, "He was just staying within himself. He's pitching with that edge that he had all last year. Eleven more punchouts. Didn't get carried away with any big-pitch innings. Very efficient."
Randy Wolf started for the Tigers and took the brunt of the onslaught. After lasting seven innings in each of his past two starts, Wolf was rocked for eight hits and eight runs in 3 2/3 innings.
"It was just really bad command today," Wolf said. "Against any team, let alone against a team that's hot and that's really good, you just can't make those kind of mistakes."
The Royals' magic number to clinch the American League Central dropped to 19.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
First career jack: Cuthbert singled in two runs off Wolf in the second inning, giving the Royals an early 3-0 lead. Then, he came up in the fifth in a 9-0 game. Cuthbert turned on a breaking ball inside and lined a homer just fair into the left-field corner, his first Major League blast. More >
Added punch: Cain homered in the third, a shot that Statcast™ projected to land 458 feet away from the plate. He also doubled in two runs in the fourth before leaving with a calf injury. Morales launched a three-run blast in the fourth, and Paulo Orlando had two doubles and a triple.
Cain said after the game his calf would be fine.
"It's a little sore but I'll be ready to go tomorrow," he said.
As for the home-run barrage, Cain said, "It was nice. Guys came up, stepped up tonight after the two losses. Came out swinging the bats. Jumped on Wolf early. Very aggressive and just did a great job of swinging the bats overall tonight."
Air Iglesias: The Tigers had precious few highlights on Wednesday, but the shortstop added to his highlight reel with a leaping catch on a Christian Colon line drive, hanging in the air for a snow-cone grab. The catch started a seventh-inning double play that prevented further damage.
Warnings issued: After Ian Kinsler took a 98-mph fastball from Ventura in his back in the first inning, Wolf hit Salvador Perez with a 90-mph fastball with runners on second and third in the second inning, prompting warnings to both benches.
"I had my doubts about it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of any Ventura intent.
Miguel Cabrera was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes, by third-base umpire Gary Cederstrom. Cabrera objected to a called third strike by home-plate umpire Quinn Wolcott, who gave him ample leeway to continue arguing until Cederstrom intervened. It was Cabrera's seventh career ejection.
"I was walking to the dugout," Cabrera said. "I was saying, 'You've got to tell him to do his job. Don't tell me what I have to do.'" More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
According to STATS, Guido Knudson became the first Major League pitcher since at least 1914 to allow a home run in each of his first four Major League appearances, all in relief. Other pitchers have longer streaks, but all of them included at least one start.
Tigers: Left-hander Matt Boyd (1-5, 7.12 ERA) will start the finale of this three-game road set on Thursday at 8:10 p.m. ET. Boyd will face the Royals for a third time this season, including two meetings in August. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball on Aug. 3, but gave up three runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings five days later at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (12-7, 3.27 ERA) will get the ball for the finale against the Tigers on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT. He is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA vs. Detroit this season, both starts at Kauffman Stadium. Volquez allowed five earned runs on eight hits in seven innings in his most recent start on Aug. 12.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.