Vargas struggles, Tigers blast Royals to begin four-game series

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas (51) is removed during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Detroit Tigers on Monday, July 17, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Nicholas Castellanos and Mikie Mahtook went deep, Jordan Zimmermann smothered the Royals with strikes and the Detroit Tigers proceeded to trounce Kansas City 10-2 to open a four-game series Monday night.

Ian Kinsler added three extra-base hits for the Tigers, who knocked American League wins leader Jason Vargas (12-4) from the game after 2 2/3 innings in his first start since the All-Star break.

Zimmermann (6-7) allowed one run and seven hits without a walk in 6 2/3 innings, throwing 79 of 97 pitches for strikes. His dominance was partly a result of first-pitch strikes to 24 of the 28 batters he faced, which helped the right-hander win for the first time since June 3.

Seemingly the only pitch Zimmermann threw that wasn’t a strike hit Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar on the left wrist in the seventh inning. Escobar was forced to leave the game.

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