Detroit Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook was succinct when asked about the Royals’ 16-2 win over the Tigers on Wednesday.
A bench-clearing incident started when Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was hit by a pitch from Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon. It capped an ugly night for Detroit.
“You are going to have some games like that,” Mahtook told MLB.com. “There’s just some things that happened today that aren’t good. We don’t want to see those happen. That’s not how we play. That’s not how we go about things.”
Who was to blame for the melee? This is what was written by reporters in Detroit and it seems that Rondon is the bad guy there, too.
Ausmus said he didn’t get an explanation from umpires about why Rondon was ejected while Moustakas, who threw his bat down and took a step toward the mound, was not. “But I didn’t need a written report,” he said.
Umpires were clearly convinced that the pitch was intentional. And Rondon’s wrangling with umpire Greg Gibson, who was trying to restrain him, didn’t help his cause.
Rondon could face at least a fine or short suspension, assuming he’s not back down in Triple-A Toledo (or worse) by the time punishment is doled out.
Asked if he was concerned about Rondon’s demeanor and maturity, Ausmus replied, “No more than I was yesterday.”
It wasn’t a ringing endorsement.
A week after they were knocked around in Kansas City, the Tigers were embarrassed again, getting swept.
“It’s embarrassing,” left fielder Justin Upton said. “I don’t think there are degrees of embarrassing, are there?”
The rest of the game won’t be remembered. In many ways, it doesn’t matter. Anibal Sanchez was shelled. So were the next two relievers that followed. The Tigers once again couldn’t hit. The Royals had a double-digit lead heading into the final frame, when the one thing that this game will be remembered for happened.
The bad blood had been brewing since last week in Kansas City, when Tigers hit five batters in a four-game series. Earlier in the game, lefty Chad Bell stuck one in the ribs of Alex Gordon. The sentiment inside the Royals clubhouse afterwards was that after the Gordon hit by pitch, they were on high alert. When Moustakas – who is putting up All-Star numbers at third base and is one of their most important players – was hit, a boiling point had been reached.
The dugouts emptied and converged near the pitcher’s mound. The most fired up was lefty pitcher Danny Duffy, who hollered at Rondon and had to be restrained. Rondon hollered back and was held back by an umpire and teammates who were thrust into the line of fire for his immature actions.
Rondon didn’t speak to reporters afterward. The presumption was that he was angered that Lorenzo Cain ran through the stop sign held up by third-base coach Mike Jirschele to score the Royals’ 14th run.
The Tigers players didn’t seem as bothered by that as Rondon was.
“If you are on the bases and the guy drives you in, you run your bases and you score,” Upton said. “It was clearly a situation where he could score, and score pretty easily.”
Pat Caputo of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit tweeted: “Bruce Rondon is an embarrassment. What a joke. Come on. Andrew Romine on mound. Low point of low season for #Tigers”