KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The only things that slowed down Yordano Ventura on Wednesday night were the long periods that Kansas City’s 24-year-old flamethrower spent on the bench between innings.
While the Royals were pounding four homers and nine extra-base hits off Detroit pitching, Ventura had to sit idly in the dugout. Still, he managed to strike out 11 in seven sharp innings as the AL Central leaders cruised to a 12-1 rout of the slumping Tigers.
”Definitely good to have,” Ventura said of the run support, ”but when things take that long, it can be challenging. I was able to overcome that.”
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Ventura (10-7) walked one and hit one while matching a career high for strikeouts set in his last start. The 24-year-old with the 100 mph fastball has not allowed more than two earned runs in his last five outings, and is 6-0 since his last defeat July 20 against Pittsburgh.
”Good pitching generates good offense,” said Jonny Gomes, who got a hit and scored in his first start for Kansas City since arriving in a trade from Atlanta. ”Obviously that strikeout stuff plays.”
Kendrys Morales hit a three-run shot, Cheslor Cuthbert added his first career homer, and Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain also went deep as the Royals matched a season high for runs.
Randy Wolf (0-3) gave up eight runs in 3 2-3 innings for Detroit, though he did last longer than Miguel Cabrera. The slugger was tossed by third base umpire Gary Cederstrom after fanning in the third inning, and after a quarrel with plate umpire Quinn Wolcott proved fruitless.
Even before Cabrera hit the showers, the Detroit hitters were sputtering.
After the Tigers put runners on the corners with one out in the first, Ventura allowed just one of the next 13 batters he faced to reach base. Ventura didn’t give up a run until the sixth, when Anthony Gose hit a leadoff triple and scored on Ian Kinsler’s groundout.
By that point, the Royals already led 12-0.
Zobrist homered in the first to give Kansas City the lead, and Cuthbert – called up Tuesday when rosters expanded – added a two-run double in the second. Cain’s home run in the third and a five-run fourth inning highlighted by Morales’ towering shot to center made it a rout.
Cuthbert added his two-run homer during a three-run fifth.
”I couldn’t throw my curveball for a strike to save my life,” Wolf said. ”My changeup was up. My fastball location wasn’t where I wanted it to be. You put all those elements together, it’s going to be tough to have a good night.”
Just about the only thing that didn’t go right for Kansas City was when Cain fouled a pitch off his left calf in the fourth inning. He was checked out by trainer Nick Kenney and manager Ned Yost and remained in the game, and promptly hit a two-run double.
Cain was replaced by Jarrod Dyson for precautionary reasons in the fifth, and said after the game that his calf was ”a little tight right now. Kind of hurts to walk but I’ll be OK.”
With the game out of hand, both teams substituted as liberally as in spring training.
Left-hander Scott Alexander made his big league debut in the ninth for Kansas City, while Rajai Davis – who had been bothered by a finger injury – got into the game for Detroit.
”I don’t have much to say,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ”It was all Royals.”
STATS AND STREAKS
Cabrera was ejected for the seventh time in his career and first since May 2014. … The Royals scored in each of the first five innings for the first time since July 2000, when they did it against the White Sox. … Cain has hit in 10 straight games.
Tigers: RHP Al Alburquerque (hip) had a precautionary MRI exam Wednesday, Ausmus said. The reliever has not pitched since Aug. 24.
Royals: RHP Ryan Madson (weak arm) hopes to return this week, Yost said. Madson last pitched Aug. 22. … 3B Mike Moustakas (hamstring) got his second straight night off. ”He’s feeling well. Better,” Yost said.
Tigers: LHP Matt Boyd starts the series finale against Kansas City, though Ausmus declined to say who would start Friday night against Cleveland. LHP Kyle Ryan could get the nod.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (12-7) has lost twice to the Tigers this season, including a 2-1 defeat when David Price was on the mound for Detroit on May 2.