The Detroit Tigers posted 16 wins in April for the first time since 1993. Now they’ll try to kick off May with another win Monday when they open a two-game series against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park.
The Tigers’ 16-9 record matches their best start through 25 games since 1993, the last time they finished with a winning record. A win over the Royals (5-17) would give Detroit its best record through 26 games since the 1984 team was 22-4 and went on to win the World Series.
The Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 6-0 on Sunday to record that 16th win and complete their first three-game sweep of the Twins since April 2002. Detroit outscored Minnesota 33-1 over the weekend to jump start its seven-game homestand.
Kenny Rogers (4-2, 2.59) allowed two hits and one walk in eight innings for the win. It was the Tigers’ fifth shutout of the season, two more than any other April in team history.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland is tough to impress, however.
“We’re not a dominant type of pitching staff at all,” said Leyland, whose squad has won nine of its last 11 games. “I think the best part is, if we tried to be dominating pitchers, we wouldn’t be very good. We just have to pitch within the stuff that we have. When we do that, we have a chance to be good pitchers.”
Jeremy Bonderman (2-2, 5.04) will try to continue the Tigers’ string of good pitching Monday. The right-handed hurler earned his first victory of the season April 5 against the Royals, limiting them to one earned run while striking out eight in 6 2-3 innings of a 14-3 win, that capped a two-game season-opening sweep of Kansas City.
Runelvys Hernandez (1-0, 1.29) will try to maintain his perfect 4-0 record in Detroit, however, when he starts for the Royals. The right-hander has gone 26 1-3 innings in his six starts in Detroit with a 2.05 ERA, allowing six earned runs and 22 hits.
That type of success has been hard to come by for the Royals, who have the fewest wins in major league baseball. Kansas City lost 13-6 to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, dropping their 12th consecutive game at home to Oakland, which matched their longest home losing streak against a single opponent.
“It’s embarrassing,” Royals first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said.
The Royals tied the game 5-5 on Mark Teahen’s three-run homer in the fifth inning, but the A’s scored six runs the following inning. Kerry Robinson had three hits for Kansas City after being called up Saturday from Triple-A Omaha.
Royals starter Scott Elarton allowed five earned runs in just 2 1-3 innings and was the first of six Kansas City pitchers used in the game. Luke Hudson took the loss after allowing four earned runs and failing to record an out.
Royals center fielder Esteban German left in the sixth inning after being hit in the mouth by a fly ball he misjudged. He suffered bruises and lacerations to his mouth.