Tigers maul second-place Royals in 16-4 romp
JUL 10, 2014 11:34p ET
If there's one thing that the Tigers have made clear through the first half of the season, it is that no one knows what they are going to do next.
This week, they've turned into the 1927 Yankees.
Since the Dodgers scored five runs in the first inning against Justin Verlander on Tuesday, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 34-5. The first two games were against the Dodgers, but it was the Royals who were the victims in a 16-4 rout Thursday night.
"He pitched an outstanding game in Detroit, but tonight he seemed to have a little trouble with the strike zone," said Brad Ausmus. "We hit the ball hard at times, but it seemed like every time we got the bat on the ball, it found a good place to land."
No one hit a ball harder than the team's resident elder, 38-year-old Torii Hunter. Hunter, who said that he thought Guthrie might have been ill, launched a homer 428 feet onto a staircase in left-centerfield.
"Every once in a while, I can still do that," he said. "He threw me a changeup that was up, and you know what they say, 'when it is high, let it fly'."
Every Tiger hitter got a hit and scored a run, even late-game defensive replacements Andrew Romine and Rajai Davis. Detroit also had six hitters with multiple RBI, led by three from Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Hunter, who combined to go 7-for-12 with three walks and four extra-base hits.
"We've been swinging the bats really well for the last couple days," Hunter said. "We've gotten more patient at the plate and we're getting pitches we can handle."
All of this offense made life a lot easier for Drew Smyly, whose main concern was staying loose while the Tigers kept putting up lengthy offensive innings.
"During one of them, I decided to play catch, because I had been sitting for a long time," he said. "Believe me, though, it is a lot of fun to pitch in a game like that, especially when the runs kept piling up."
Smyly's only disappointment was that his night ended on a two-run homer in the seventh inning by Eric Hosmer, and Ausmus agreed, digging deep into his Ivy-League vocabulary to express his mixed feelings.
"That's a tough call, because you want to give a starter a chance to get seven innings, but I'm always a little trepidatious about sending a guy back out there," he said. "You don't want someone who has pitched that well to end the night with a bad taste in his mouth, but hopefully Drew will remember the rest of the game more than his last pitch."
The Tigers will go for a fourth straight win on Friday, with Anibal Sanchez facing Danny Duffy. Tigers Live airs at 7:00 p.m. on FOX Sports Detroit, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:10.