KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Torii Hunter insisted the first-place Tigers weren’t trying to send a message to the second-place Royals as the AL Central rivals began a four-game series leading into the All-Star break.
Everybody who stepped to the plate for Detroit had at least one hit and scored one run, and a season-best offensive onslaught spurred the Tigers to a 16-4 rout of Kansas City on Thursday night.
Nevertheless, the Tigers extended their lead to 5 1/2 games over the Royals by capturing their third straight victory and fourth in a row in Kansas City — winning those four games by a 42-12 margin. The latest offensive binge came just two days after Detroit blitzed the Dodgers 14-5.
Jeremy Guthrie (5-8) gave up a career-worst eight earned runs on eight hits, three walks and two hit batters. He was mercifully pulled with no outs in the fifth, which means the Royals’ veteran has allowed 16 earned runs in eight-plus innings covering his last two starts.
The Tigers stunned the Royals with three runs in the first, added three in the fourth and put up a season-best eight in the fifth. They ended up with 19 hits for the game.
Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez joined Hunter in driving in three runs apiece, while Ian Kinsler, Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez each drove in two.