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Ian Kinsler drilled by pitch; Brad Ausmus has 'doubts' about intent

Ian Kinsler was hit by a high fastball in the first inning of Wednesday's game with the Royals. Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY -- It didn't take long for some controversy to surface Wednesday night, as Ian Kinsler was drilled by a high fastball right between the shoulder blades by pitcher Yordano Ventura in the first inning of the Detroit Tigers' 12-1 loss Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

After fanning leadoff hitter Anthony Gose in the top of the first, Ventura scalded a 98 mph pitch that plunked Kinsler in the back, eliciting a death stare from the 33-year-old infielder on his way to first base.

After the game, most players avoided making any incendiary comments, about either the pitch that hit Kinsler or the one from Tigers pitcher Randy Wolf that nailed Salvador Perez the next frame, which many, including Perez, perceived as retaliation. But at least one member of the team questioned the 24-year-old Ventura's intentions.

"Yeah, I had my doubts," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus admitted after the game.

Kinsler was in no mood to provide his opinion of the play.

"Go ask him," he said.

Asked whether he saw Wolf's pitch that hit Perez as a form of "baseball justice," Ausmus said:

"In this game, things usually take care of themselves. I'm not really worried about it."

For his part, Wolf denied any retribution. He replayed the inning, listing off the previous batters -- Kendrys Morales and Jonny Gomes -- who hit an infield single and a double, respectively -- and explaining that he did not want to load the bases.

"I don't want to leave the ball middle. Try to go in, induce a pop-up. I didn't want to leave it over the middle of the plate," Wolf said of his approach.

Perez was heated after getting hit, jawing towards Wolf and prompting a warning to both teams.

Kinsler said he has no previous history with Ventura and didn't seem interested in trying to interpret the pitcher's intent, despite the fact that Ventura finished the game with 11 strikeouts and just one walk in seven innings of work.

"That's for you to decide," Kinsler said.

Kinsler, who remained in the game, said he was fine after being hit. Considering the way he has performed from the plate recently, that left his teammates relieved.

"I'm just glad he's not hurt," Wolf said. "He throws really, really hard and it was pretty high up there, but I'm just glad he was able to take first and not get hurt out of that."