Tigers rout Royals behind Zimmermann, homers
TIGERS 10, ROYALS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nicholas Castellanos and Mikie Mahtook went deep, Jordan Zimmermann smothered the Royals with strikes and the Detroit Tigers proceeded to trounce Kansas City 10-2 to open a four-game series Monday night.
Ian Kinsler added three extra-base hits for the Tigers, who knocked American League wins leader Jason Vargas (12-4) from the game after 2 2/3 innings in his first start since the All-Star break.
Zimmermann (6-7) allowed one run and seven hits without a walk in 62/3 innings, throwing 79 of 97 pitches for strikes. His dominance was partly a result of first-pitch strikes to 24 of the 28 batters he faced, which helped the right-hander win for the first time since June 3.
Seemingly the only pitch Zimmermann threw that wasn't a strike hit Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar on the left wrist in the seventh inning. Escobar was forced to leave the game.
Eric Hosmer homered in the eighth for Kansas City. Whit Merrifield also drove in a run.
Things went awry for Vargas from the first pitch, which Kinsler swatted to the fence for a double. Vargas proceeded to match a season high with four walks, Kinsler added a pair of triples off him, and the homers by Castellanos and Mahtook combined to go nearly 900 feet.
The dismal performance came after Vargas was battered for six runs — including three homers — on eight hits and a walk in five innings at Seattle in his final start before the All-Star break.
Vargas did toss a shutout inning during last week's Midsummer Classic.
It was Zimmermann who looked like an All-Star on Monday night, though — not someone who had allowed at least four runs each of his last three starts, and was 0-4 with a 6.99 ERA on the road.
Zimmermann breezed through a perfect first, bounced back from back-to-back singles to escape trouble in the second, then began pounding the strike zone. By the time he hit the 50-pitch mark, Zimmermann threw 44 of them for strikes, and he wound up with only four two-ball counts in the game.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CARDINALS 6, METS 3
Paul DeJong homered against the New York Mets for the fourth straight game and Adam Wainwright hit an RBI double while winning his fourth consecutive start, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to a victory. With runners at the corners in the bottom of the ninth inning, slugger Yoenis Cespedes grounded into a game-ending double play on a 3-0 pitch from Brett Cecil.