KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Detroit Tigers got along just fine without J.D. Martinez in their lineup.
For one night, at least.
After trading their star outfielder to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Tigers pounded out 16 hits in a 9-3 rout of the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night. Nicholas Castellanos homered twice and drove in five, Victor Martinez had a pair of RBIs and just about everyone else did something constructive.
“I don’t know that you can replace J.D.,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, whose club won its fourth straight. “We’ll do our best. Tonight was a good night for us.”
The Tigers were presumed to be in sell-mode after a rough first half, and that assumption became fact when general manager Al Avila traded Martinez for a trio of infield prospects. It took one of the Tigers’ most consistent bats out of the lineup and could signal more trades are in the works.
Nobody in the Detroit clubhouse is worried about the future, though.
“Everybody in here is a professional. You have to do what you have to do,” said Castellanos, who also tripled to finish a double shy of the cycle. “We’re playing with a chip on our shoulder now.”
The Tigers’ big offensive night gave fill-in starter Matt Boyd (3-5) plenty of support.
Boyd allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings, striking out three and walking one. It was his first big league win since April 16, a skid that included four losses and four no-decisions.
He outperformed Travis Wood (1-3), who allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Most of the damage against Wood came in the second, when the Tigers strung together four straight hits to begin the inning. Victor Martinez’s two-run double started the scoring, and by the time Castellanos added a two-run triple, the Tigers had turned a 3-0 deficit into a 5-3 advantage.
Castellanos added his 13th homer of the season with one out in the fifth inning.
“They just put a rally together, some balls hit hard, some balls found holes and I wasn’t able to stop the bleeding,” Wood said. “That can’t happen especially after the team goes out and battles and put up three. We need a shutdown inning right there.”
Boyd had trouble of his own in the first, when he coughed up three runs on four singles and a hit batter. But the left-hander settled down to retire Kansas City in order in the second, then dodged what little trouble he faced before turning the game over to his bullpen.
It was the seventh loss in eight games for the Royals, going back to a three-game skid entering the All-Star break, and a particularly disheartening one given their three-run first inning.
“We’ve definitely got to get our pitching reeled back in here a little bit,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “A good start by our starting pitcher and some clutch hits will help you gain momentum and get your momentum going back in a positive fashion. That’s what we need to do.”
STATS AND STREAKS
Castellanos had his second career multihomer game. He has four homers in four days. … The Tigers improved to 6-2 against Kansas City this season. They were 7-12 against the Royals last season. … Wood is winless in his last seven starts, going 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA. … OF Whit Merrifield had a double in the ninth for his eighth straight home game with an extra-base hit, matching the Royals record held by Mike Macfarlane, Hal McRae and Amos Otis. … Royals 2B Ramon Torres singled to snap a 0-for-15 skid.
JMART SAYS FAREWELL
Martinez said he wasn’t surprised he was traded, considering he is due to hit free agency after the season. But that still made it difficult to leave a club that gave him a chance when things went downhill in Houston. “It doesn’t hit you until they tell you,” Martinez said. “It’s definitely tough. I love this organization. I love the fans. I love everything in Detroit. That’s home for me.”
TIGERS’ TRADE RETURN
INF Dawel Lugo was the top prospect in the Tigers’ trade, and GM Al Avila said he will likely begin next season at Triple-A. The Tigers also got INF Sergio Alcantara and INF Jose King as they restocked their farm system with position players. “What we got now, we’re very happy with,” Avila said.
The Tigers recalled OF Jim Adduci from Triple-A Toledo to take Martinez’s roster spot. They also optioned LHP Blaine Hardy to the Mud Hens to create room for Boyd on the roster.
Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (5-7, 4.66 ERA) tries to snap a three-game skid as the four-game series continues Wednesday night. The Royals will send RHP Jason Hammel (4-8, 5.02) to the mound.