Rondon's HBP of Moose raises eyebrows, ire

Benches clear during ninth inning of KC's 16-2 win over Tigers

Rondon's HBP of Moose raises eyebrows, ire

DETROIT -- The Royals completed a three-game series sweep of the Tigers with a 16-2 win Wednesday that did not leave much suspense. It did not lack for drama, however, once a Bruce Rondon fastball hit Mike Moustakas and cleared the benches in the ninth.

By the time the game resumed at Comerica Park, Rondon had been ejected. Danny Duffy, the winning pitcher a night earlier, had to be held back from Rondon. Andrew Romine, the Tigers' super-utility player who had entered the game earlier at first base, moved over to the mound to finish the game.

"Game like that, getting out of hand, I don't really know," Moustakas said when asked what Rondon was thinking. "I knew after the first pitch he threw, it was inside, that I was going to get another one."

Asked whether he felt Rondon's pitch was intentional, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "I don't know what it was, I'll be honest with you. That's probably a better question for him."

Rondon declined, through a team spokesperson, to speak with reporters after the game.

The incident followed Eric Hosmer's RBI single, his fifth hit of the night. Lorenzo Cain scored from second base without a throw, extending Kansas City's lead to 14-2.

Hosmer's fifth hit of the night

Rondon, already upset about a balk call that moved Cain to second base earlier in the at-bat, threw two hard fastballs inside on Moustakas. The first missed Moustakas at 98 mph, but the second -- at 99 mph -- struck him squarely on his right hip.

He was the second Royal hit by a pitch Wednesday. Five Royals were hit during their four-game series against the Tigers last week in Kansas City, including two in a 16-4 Royals win in the series finale.

"First of all, you're talking about a guy who has 29 home runs and we're in a pennant race," Hosmer said. "If he hits [Moustakas] in the wrist, it can really jeopardize our season."

Home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn immediately ejected Rondon. Moustakas took issue, walking toward the mound as Rondon threw up his arms.

"Obviously I was a little upset," Moustakas said. "I didn't feel like I deserved to be hit."

Duffy was the first off the Royals' bench, yelling at Rondon as Tigers second baseman Dixon Machado held him back.

"That was interesting, man. That's the second time he's done that," Duffy said of Rondon. "If he doesn't want to compete in a situation that's not sexy, they should just send his [butt] home."

Crew chief Greg Gibson came in to hold back the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Rondon before Ausmus, Alex Wilson and Michael Fulmer joined in.

Rondon has had issues before when pitching in lopsided situations. The Tigers sent him home in late September two years ago for what was characterized as effort level. He returned the following spring with a fresh start and had an encouraging stretch run last season, but was optioned to Triple-A Toledo in April of this year following back-to-back three-run outings. He returned in late June.

Asked Wednesday if he was concerned about Rondon's maturity, Ausmus said, "No more than I was yesterday."

Rondon began the inning Wednesday throwing 93-94 mph fastballs on his way to striking out Jorge Bonifacio. His velocity picked up following Cain's first-pitch single and the balk call.

If the issue was Cain scoring from second in a lopsided game, there wasn't much defense from the rest of the Tigers. Left fielder Justin Upton said there's no unwritten rule about scoring on a play like that; if he can score easily, he should.

"It was clearly a situation where he could score," Upton said, "and I thought he could score pretty easily."

Neither Moustakas nor his teammates felt any differently.

"We're going to keep playing baseball," Moustakas said. "LoCain scored from second base, and that's what you do. We're not going to quit or give up."

Said Hosmer: "We didn't show anyone up. We got hits, we scored runs. Apparently, that's frowned upon around here."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.