Mondesi hits first HR in Royals' 6-1 win over Tigers
DETROIT (AP) Raul Mondesi hit 271 home runs in 13 major league seasons.
Eleven years after his career ended, his son is on the board.
The younger Raul Mondesi broke open a scoreless tie with a home run off Justin Verlander and the Kansas City Royals went on to a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
When Mondesi came up in the third inning, Verlander had retired all eight batters he had faced and appeared to be in dominant form once again.
Verlander's first pitch was a 94 mph fastball for a called strike, but the second was a hanging slider and Mondesi drove it just inside the right-field foul pole for his first career homer.
''As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to stay fair, so I just started running,'' he said. ''I'm sure everyone could see me smiling when it went over the fence. That was a great feeling.''
Hitting it off Verlander made things even better.
''It makes it more special that I hit it in my first at-bat against that guy,'' he said. ''He's a great, great pitcher, and I hit my first homer against him.''
Mondesi is listed as 6-foot-1 and a very generous 185 pounds, but Royals manager Ned Yost wasn't shocked by him going deep.
''He's a skinny kid who we know is going to fill out over the next few years, but we knew he had some pop,'' Yost said. ''He can do more than people realize.''
Mondesi's homer was the first of four solo shots by the Royals, three off Verlander. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer also homered off Verlander (12-7), while Kendrys Morales went deep off Mark Lowe.
''Most of the time, I'll take my chances with giving up four hits, but tonight, every mistake I made got hit into the seats,'' Verlander said. ''They say solo homers don't hurt you, but that obviously wasn't the case today. It was just one of those games.''
Danny Duffy (10-1) outdueled Verlander, allowing three hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out five.
''You'd expect a pitcher's duel from those two, and that's really what it was,'' Yost said. ''Danny was great, and Verlander threw the ball really well. We only got four hits off him, but somehow, three of them were homers. You don't expect that.''
Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered for Detroit's only run. The Tigers have lost seven of nine.
''We just need to win,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ''Our offense is cold right now, and the opposing pitching has a lot to do with that, but sometimes you just go cold as a group.''
Verlander gave up five runs - three earned - four hits and a walk in seven-plus innings. He struck out six.
Kansas City's second hit came in the fifth inning, when Gordon hit another slider into nearly the same spot as Mondesi. Gordon came into the game with a .205 career average against the Tigers ace.
Duffy only needed 41 pitches over the first four innings, but Saltalamacchia put the Tigers on the board with a fifth-inning homer into the shrubs above the centerfield fence.
Hosmer restored Kansas City's two-run lead with a seventh-inning homer to center field that was estimated at 443 feet. It was the fifth hit of the game - four solo homers and a double by Detroit's J.D. Martinez.
Victor Martinez got the game's first single in the seventh. J.D. Martinez hit into a force at second, but moved to third on a wild pitch and a fly ball. Duffy, though, struck out James McCann to end the inning.
Detroit's defense fell apart at the start of the eighth. Gordon hit a routine grounder to third, but ended up on second when Saltalamacchia missed Casey McGehee's throw. Alcides Escobar singled to left with Gordon taking third, then moved to second when Justin Upton lobbed the ball into the infield.
Verlander walked Mondesi on his 112th and final pitch, loading the bases. Bruce Rondon came in from the bullpen and struck out Paolo Orlando, but Cheslor Cuthbert hit a blooper to shallow center that Ian Kinsler got under, but dropped.
Kinsler recovered in time to force Escobar at third, but Gordon scored to make to it 4-1. Lorenzo Cain doubled to give the Royals a four-run lead.
Royals: Three pitchers with long-term injuries are scheduled to make rehab performances this week. Kris Medlen, out since May with a rotator cuff problem, started Tuesday night for Surprise in the Arizona League, while Jason Vargas (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to start for Double-A Northwest Arizona on Wednesday. Mike Minor (shoulder) is supposed to pitch for Triple-A Omaha on Friday. Vargas and Minor have both missed the entire season.
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera was out of the starting lineup Tuesday with a strained left biceps. The injury, sustained in Monday's loss to the Royals, is not considered serious. Cabrera said after the game that he hopes to play on Wednesday. ... Jordan Zimmermann (neck) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, and is scheduled to throw another on Thursday.
The Tigers announced shortly before the first pitch that they had traded utilityman Mike Aviles and minor-league catcher Kade Scivicque to Atlanta for infielder Erick Aybar. General manager Al Avila said the move was designed to give the Tigers more offense off the bench. Aybar is hitting .242 this season as opposed to Aviles' .210.
The teams finish their three-game series on Wednesday evening, with Kansas City's Yordano Ventura (8-9, 4.60) facing Anibal Sanchez (6-12, 6.31). Sanchez has allowed 23 homers in 19 starts and only lasted four innings in his last outing.