Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Vargas falls to Earth, Tigers slam Royals 9-4


Free agent acquisition Jason Vargas came into Sunday’s game against Detroit with a 2-0 record and an outstanding 2.40 ERA, which was far beyond any reasonable expectations for the journeyman pitcher. The Tigers slammed 7 runs against Vargas in 5 innings, on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Detroit completed their weekend sweep against the Royals without looking at all challenged by Kansas City’s playoff aspirations. The Royals came into this series only 2 games back of Detroit and in 2nd place in the Central. After the sweep, the Royals are now 14-16 on the season and 5 games behind Tigers. Kansas City has also sunk to 4th place in the division.

Yeah. Hardly a good weekend in Kansas City.

The Royals have now lost 4 straight games. They need to turn things around quickly or else they will be thinking about last year’s season-killing 4-19 stretch in May.

On the Mound

Jason Vargas struggled for the second straight start. On April 29, Vargas gave up 5 runs in 6.1 IP to Toronto, while on Sunday the Tigers battered him for 7 runs and 2 bombs over the fence in 5.0 IP. Before these two starts, Vargas had a 1.54 ERA without really improving upon his peripherals vs. most of his career.

Looks like regression has caught up to him.

Lefty reliever Tim Collins pitched for the first time since going on the disabled list April 6th. He rushed to Kansas City from his rehab assignment in Omaha after Aaron Brooks melted down Saturday night. Collins pitched two scoreless inning in his return, giving up 1 hit and ringing up one strikeout. Collins still has an unsightly 12.00 ERA on the season.

Mike Mariot came on in the 8th and struggled once again. He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits, 1 BB, and 1 K. Mariot did manage to leave three Tigers stranded.

Idling Greg Holland worked the 9th to get some work. Holland was his usual dominant self, whiffing two Tigers and allowing no runs.

At the Plate

Despite showing patience by drawing 4 walks, the Royals offense hardly threatened Tiger ace Justin Verlander, who allowed 3 runs and struck out 7. On the day, the Royals managed 7 hits, 5 walks, and lost for the first time this season while scoring 4 runs.

Norichika Aoki had a perfect day at the plate for a leadoff hitter. In four plate appearances, he drew 3 walks and added a single and 2 RBI’s. Getting on base 4 out of 4 times is exactly what he’s supposed to do.

Billy Butler went 2-4 with a double but did not factor in any of Kansas City’s 4 runs. Butler looks like he’s worked his way out of his April slump. His line is now a rapidly improving .241/.296/.313. He was the only Royal with more than one hit on Sunday.

Jarrod Dyson went 1-4, but slammed a triple and 2 RBI’s. He score one run.

Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas did not get a hit.

This and That

The Royals finally lost a game while scoring 4 runs. The magic divide is over. The team is now 14-1 when scoring 4 runs, and 0-15 when scoring 3 runs or less.

The Tigers outscored Kansas City 26-8 in the weekend sweep. The Royals look a long way from challenging the defending Central champions. Sunday’s loss makes Kansas City 0-5 vs. the Tigers this season—and 14-11 vs. the rest of baseball.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Norichika Aoki is the KC Kingdom player of the game for getting on base in all four of his plate appearances. Aoki now has a solid .341 OPB and is exactly what the Royals expected when they acquired him in trade from Milwaukee this off-season.

The Tigers

For the third straight game, every Tiger starter had at least on hit. On the day, the Tigers banged out 16 hits, 3 doubles, 2 home runs and drew 2 walks. Overall, they scored 26 runs in three games in Kansas City. They feasted on Royals pitching.

Justin Verlander had a no-hitter going until Billy Butler singled in the 6th inning. He did not surrender a run until giving up 3 in the 7th, when Detroit had already scored 7 runs.

Rajai Davis, Torii Hunter, and Andrew Romine all had 3 hits for the Tigers, with Nick Castellanos and Alex Avila hitting home runs.

Up Next

The Royals travel to San Diego on Monday to play their first game of the season against a National League team. The Royals will send Yordano Ventura to the mound (2-1, 1.50 ERA). The Padres counter with Eric Stults (1-3, 5.34 ERA). Gametime is 9:10 PM CST at Petco Park.

Box

Tiger Batting AB R H RBI BB SO BA OPS
Rajai Davis LF 6 3 3 0 0 2 .337 .837
Ian Kinsler 2B 5 1 2 1 0 0 .304 .762
Miguel Cabrera 1B 4 0 1 2 1 1 .280 .760
Victor Martinez DH 3 0 1 0 2 0 .326 .901
Torii Hunter RF 5 0 3 3 0 0 .319 .868
Austin Jackson CF 5 1 1 0 0 0 .292 .857
Nick Castellanos 3B 5 1 1 1 0 0 .232 .693
Alex Avila C 5 1 1 2 0 3 .224 .735
Andrew Romine SS 5 2 3 0 0 1 .250 .616
Team Totals 43 9 16 9 3 7 .372 .994
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/5/2014.
2B: I Kinsler (8, off J Vargas); R Davis (3, off J Vargas); M Cabrera (10, off J Vargas).
HR: N Castellanos (4, off J Vargas; 2nd inn, 0 on, 1 out to Deep LF-CF); A Avila (2, off J Vargas; 5th inn, 1 on, 1 out to Deep CF).
IBB: V Martinez 2 (7, by M Mariot, by J Vargas).
TB: R Davis 4; A Avila 4; N Castellanos 4; T Hunter 3; I Kinsler 3; A Romine 3; M Cabrera 2; V Martinez; A Jackson.
RBI: T Hunter 3 (19); M Cabrera 2 (19); A Avila 2 (6); I Kinsler (16); N Castellanos (18).
2-out RBI: T Hunter 3; M Cabrera 2; I Kinsler.
Team LOB: 10.
With RISP: 6 for 15.
Baserunning
SB: R Davis 2 (11, 2nd base off J Vargas/S Perez, 3rd base off J Vargas/S Perez); A Jackson (3, 2nd base off J Vargas/S Perez).
Royals Batting AB R H RBI BB SO BA OPS
Nori Aoki RF 1 0 1 2 3 0 .279 .702
Omar Infante 2B 5 0 1 0 0 1 .282 .748
Eric Hosmer 1B 5 0 0 0 0 1 .286 .717
Billy Butler DH 4 0 2 0 0 1 .241 .609
Alex Gordon LF 3 0 0 0 1 0 .257 .698
Salvador Perez C 3 0 1 0 0 0 .231 .683
   Brett Hayes PR-C 1 1 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Mike Moustakas 3B 3 1 0 0 1 2 .151 .557
Alcides Escobar SS 4 1 1 0 0 2 .267 .697
Jarrod Dyson CF 4 1 1 2 0 1 .289 .638
Team Totals 33 4 7 4 5 8 .212 .641
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/5/2014.
2B: S Perez (10, off J Verlander); B Butler (5, off I Krol).
3B: J Dyson (1, off J Verlander).
SF: N Aoki (1, off J Verlander).
TB: J Dyson 3; B Butler 3; S Perez 2; N Aoki; O Infante; A Escobar.
RBI: N Aoki 2 (7); J Dyson 2 (4).
2-out RBI: N Aoki.
Team LOB: 8.
With RISP: 3 for 8.
Tigers Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Pit Str
Justin Verlander, W (4-1) 7 4 3 3 4 7 0 2.68 107 65
Ian Krol 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.70 12 7
Al Alburquerque 1 2 1 1 1 1 0 4.91 31 20
Team Totals 9 7 4 4 5 8 0 4.00 150 92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/5/2014.
Royals Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Pit Str
Jason Vargas, L (2-1) 5 11 7 7 2 3 2 3.50 107 63
Tim Collins 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 12.00 31 24
Michael Mariot 1 3 2 2 1 1 0 5.91 33 21
Greg Holland 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 2.45 13 9
Team Totals 9 16 9 9 3 7 2 9.00 184 117
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/5/2014.
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Tags: Jason Vargas Kansas City Royals Norichika Aoki

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