Jones helps Tigers power past Royals, end slide
DETROIT — JaCoby Jones’ efforts to stand taller in the batter’s box made him stand out during the Detroit Tigers’ power explosion on Tuesday.
Jones blasted two of Detroit’s six home runs, including a two-run shot during a seven-run second inning, and the Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak by pounding the Kansas City Royals 13-2 at Comerica Park.
Jones had not homered in the majors since hitting the first of his career Opening Day against the Chicago White Sox. His second long ball Tuesday was a solo blast.
“It’s been a long time, finally getting back in the box and getting a couple in the big leagues,” said Jones, who hit nine homers in 90 games with Triple-A Toledo. “That’s big for me.”
Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon has been working with Jones on his stance.
“I was kind of too low and I was losing all my leverage,” Jones said. “He wanted me to stand up a little more upright.”
He had just two previous two-hit games, let alone a multi-homer performance.
“Finally, I felt comfortable in the box tonight,” he said. “Obviously, everyone’s going to say that when they hit two homers but the last couple of games, I felt good. Hopefully, I can keep it up.”
John Hicks also homered twice and drove in four runs for Detroit (59-79). Mikie Mahtook hit a two-run shot among his three hits and scored three runs, while Jose Iglesias added a solo home run.
“We needed it,” Hicks said. “It’s fun to come in here and everyone’s celebrating. It’s just good to look around and see everyone smiling.”
Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez departed after one batter with a right calf contusion. He was struck by Whit Merrifield’s line drive single and committed a throwing error on the play. He attempted two warmup pitches but could not continue. X-rays were negative.
Myles Jaye (1-0) replaced Sanchez and tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings to collect his first major league victory.
Royals starter Jason Vargas (14-10) lasted two innings, his shortest outing of the season. Vargas, who gave up seven runs and six hits, has lost his last four starts and six of his last seven.
“The first inning, (he) was down in the zone,” manager Ned Yost said. “He was hitting his spots pretty well. Second inning, he was just up in the zone and out over the plate.”
Lorenzo Cain hit a solo homer for Kansas City (68-69).
“These games are a lot easier to forget than the games where you lose by one run,” Yost said. “We just got blown out. Go get ‘em tomorrow.”
Melky Cabrera brought home Merrifield in the first inning on a fielder’s choice grounder.
The Tigers sent 11 batters to the plate in the second while piling up seven runs against Vargas. A hit batter and a walk set the stage for the big inning. Jeimer Candelario doubled to left-center field to knock in the first two runs. Alex Presley’s single delivered Candelario and Jones followed with his second homer of the year.
Mahtook’s two-run shot completed the outburst.
Hicks drilled a two-run blast into the visitors’ bullpen in left center off Trevor Cahill in the fourth. Iglesias’ solo shot in the fifth made it 10-1.
NOTES: Tigers 3B Nicholas Castellanos will see action in right field during the team’s next road swing, manager Brad Ausmus said. The club acquired third baseman Jeimer Candelario from the Chicago Cubs prior to the non-waiver deadline and the team’s brass wants to see if Castellanos he can handle another position. ... The Royals fortified their bench by recalling OF Jorge Soler and SS Ramon Torres from Triple-A Omaha. Both appeared in the late innings of Tuesday’s lopsided game. ... Detroit recalled RHP Victor Alcantara from Triple-A Toledo. Alcantara pitched a scoreless ninth inning in his major league debut. ... CF Lorenzo Cain’s homer in the sixth gave the Royals 168 this season, matching the franchise mark for a single season. They hit the same amount in 1987.