KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — With the Detroit Tigers bullpen giving up runs by the boatload, manager Brad Ausmus summoned position player Andrew Romine to get the final two outs in the eighth inning.
Romine walked two but got out of the inning, about the closest thing to a highlight for Detroit in a 16-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Tigers left-hander Matt Boyd (0-2) was lifted after 3 2/3 innings, yielding seven runs on eight hits. In his past two starts, Boyd has given up 13 runs on 15 hits in eight innings. Boyd was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the game.
Tigers relievers gave up nine runs on Friday and seven more on Saturday. With the game out of hand, Romine allowed an inherited runner to score but did not allow a hit. It was his second career relief appearance. His first was Aug. 22, 2014 at Minnesota.
The last time the Tigers used a position player on the mound was on June 20, 2015 when Josh Wilson pitched against the Yankees.
“It’s embarrassing,” Ausmus said. “You don’t want (to). It’s not unheard of. It happens on a fairly regular basis at some point in the season for every team, but, yeah, you don’t want to do that. You don’t want Andrew Romine to go out there and get hurt. That’s exactly what I told him. He had to be careful.”
Kendrys Morales drove in five runs with four hits, Paulo Orlando also had four hits and Whit Merrifield had three hits and four RBIs for the Royals.
Morales has reached base 10 times — seven hits and three walks — in his past 11 plate appearances to raise his average to .225. He tied a career high with the five RBIs and also got his 200th career double in the second.
The Royals’ 21 hits and 16 runs were season highs, and seven Royals had at least two hits.
Edinson Volquez (7-6) gave up two runs in the first, then retired 14 in a row during one stretch. He tired in a three-run seventh, which included Justin Upton’s two-run homer. Volquez allowed five runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.
The Royals have won 11 of their past 12 home games and are 24-8 at Kauffman Stadium, the best home record in the American League. Merrifield has at least one hit and one run in 12 straight home games.
Ausmus did not say who would take Boyd’s rotation slot.
“I just didn’t do it tonight,” Boyd said. “It just wasn’t my night to make a pitch.”
The Tigers also optioned left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy to Toledo. Hardy gave up a double to Eric Hosmer, a left-handed hitter, the only batter he faced after surrendering a three-run homer to Morales on Friday.
Orlando’s four hits were a career high.
Miguel Cabrera had two hits and a sacrifice fly, while Upton drove in three runs.
VENTURA STARTS SUSPENSION
Royals RHP Yordano Ventura had his suspension trimmed from nine to eight games and began serving it Saturday. Ventura hit Manny Machado with a pitch June 7 at Baltimore. Machado charged the mound, and that led to a benches clearing melee. Ventura can be reinstated June 28. The Royals can manage with a four-man rotation until then with two off days next week.
TIGERS PROMOTE MCGEHEE
The Tigers purchased the contract of corner IF Casey McGehee from Triple-A Toledo, where he hit .323 in 66 games. McGehee, 33, hit 23 home runs with 104 RBIs in 2010 with the Brewers. He has also played for the Cubs, Pirates, Yankees, Marlins and Giants. Detroit optioned RHP Buck Farmer to the Mud Hens and designated for assignment OF Wynton Bernard.
Tigers: RHP Warwick Saupold (right groin strain) threw a 45-pitch bullpen. “It’s 100 percent,” Saupold said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there.” … Cameron Maybin was back in center field after missing the two previous games with a sore left quad.
Royals: LF Alex Gordon (fractured right wrist) begins a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-3) starts the series finale. He is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career starts at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals: RHP Chris Young (2-6), who has allowed 18 home runs in 45 1/3 innings, has a 4-0 career record against Detroit.
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