Benches clear and Tigers take it on the chin
DETROIT (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals don't play the Detroit Tigers again until September.
That might be the one thing that keeps them from making a postseason run.
The Royals extended their winning streak to eight games with a 16-2 rout of the Tigers on Wednesday night. Five of the eight wins have come against the Tigers, who they have outscored 40-10 in the last four games, including a 16-4 win on July 20.
"We feel good right now," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It is great that we have an off day tomorrow, but the way we are playing, you kind of wish maybe we could have an off day three or four days from now."
The winning streak is Kansas City's longest since a nine-game run from Aug. 14-23 last season.
"Our offense is giving us so much right now," Yost said. "They just keep plugging away."
Detroit has lost six of eight as trade rumors swirl around several key players.
"That can't matter unless you actually get traded," Justin Upton said. "We all know how this game works, so it is pretty unprofessional if that's hindering anyone's performance."
Eric Hosmer matched a career high with five hits, including his first grand slam. He had six RBIs and scored four runs.
"We had a lot of guys who started out rough this year, including me, but now we're in a good place," he said.
Hosmer entered with 117 homers but had not hit one with the bases loaded until he connected off Warwick Saupold in a nine-run seventh inning.
"I think the last grand slam I hit might have been in high school," he said. "I'm glad to finally get one up here."
Bruce Rondon was ejected with one out in the ninth after hitting Mike Moustakas on the back with a pitch, which caused both benches to empty. Rondon declined to speak to the media after the game.
"I think he was trying to hit me," said Moustakas, who took a couple of steps toward the mound before stopping. "I don't really understand what happened, but I got hit. I've been hit before. It's not a big deal."
Utilityman Andrew Romine entered in his third big league pitching appearance and faced five batters, allowing a walk, RBI single, sacrifice fly, hit batter and fly out.
"You never want to do that, because you are risking a guy's career," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Unfortunately, Romie has had to do that before, so he knows not to try to do too much."
Ian Kennedy (4-6) improved to 3-0 in his last six starts, allowing one run and three hits in six innings.
Anibal Sanchez (2-1) had his worst start since returning in mid-June from a month-long demotion to the minor leagues. He allowed four runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
"They just did a great job of hitting," he said. "Every time they made contact, it found a hole, and I wasn't able to stop them."
Hosmer reached on an infield single in the second, stole second and scored when Alcides Escobar singled on a 66 mph changeup. Kansas City made it 4-0 in the third on run-scoring singles by Jorge Bonifacio, Hosmer and Brandon Moss.
Jose Iglesias doubled in Detroit's first run in the fifth, and Moustakas' RBI single off Chad Bell sparked the big inning. Hosmer homered on a changeup, a drive over the out-of-town scoreboard, for a 13-1 lead.
Royals: C Salvador Perez did not play, a day after leaving a game with right-side tightness in his ribs. "Could he have started tonight? Yeah," Yost said. "In fact, he fought me about it, but with a day off tomorrow, we can give him two full days of rest."
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (left groin) had a second MRI on an injury that has sidelined him since the All-Star break. The test showed no further damage. He received a cortisone shot and will rest for several days.
Romine has played every position except catcher this season. Ausmus said this week he might let Romine catch an inning on the last day of the season if the Tigers have been eliminated. With a ninth-inning single, Romine became the second player in Comerica Park history to get a hit and pitch in the same game. Shane Halter had four hits on Oct. 1, 2000, a game in which he played all nine positions.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (12-4, 3.08 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday's series opener at Boston, which opens with LHP David Price (5-3, 3.82).
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (6-8, 5.81) is slated to start at home Friday against Houston.