The Tigers (30-14) look to maintain their AL Central lead and the best record in baseball when they play the second contest of a four-game series with the Royals (10-32) on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
Detroit became the first team to 30 wins with an 8-0 shutout of the Royals on Monday and improved its league-best road record to 17-7. The Tigers have notched back-to-back shutouts, including a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday, and lead the majors with nine on the season.
The fastest any previous Detroit squad recorded nine shutouts was in 52 games in 1945.
The Tigers have won 10 of 11 games overall and five straight against the Royals, outscoring Kansas City 32-7 in that span.
Right fielder Magglio Ordonez went 3-for-5 with a two-run single Monday and is hitting .500 (11-for-22) during a six-game hitting streak. Shortstop Omar Infante is 6-for-12 from the ninth spot in the order over the last three games.
While the Detroit batters are some of the hottest in the league, the pitching staff owns a league-best 3.18 ERA. Rookie Justin Verlander pitched his first complete game on Monday, allowing just five hits while striking out seven and walking one.
“The pitching staff has done better than anyone in baseball would have believed,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who needs one victory to reach 1,100 for his career. “Certainly, that has been one of the most glaring bright spots.”
Kenny Rogers (7-2, 2.91 ERA) tries to win his fifth consecutive start when he takes the mound for Detroit on Tuesday. The left-hander was baseball’s first seven-game winner and appears well on his way to his 14th career double-digit win season.
Rogers battled through illness to win his last outing, not allowing an earned run while scattering five hits over 5 2-3 innings in Thursday’s 5-3 win against Minnesota.
The 41-year-old veteran is 19-13 with a 3.64 ERA in 49 appearances versus Kansas City. He is 8-9 at Kauffman Stadium but won the season-opener there on April 3, allowing one run and three hits over six innings of a 3-1 victory.
Runelvys Hernandez (1-3, 6.75) looks to avoid extending his winless streak to five starts when he takes the ball for Kansas City. The right-hander is coming off his shortest outing of the season. He allowed five runs and seven hits over 3 1-3 innings in Thursday’s 6-5 loss to Cleveland.
“I lost my command. I was losing my concentration,” said Hernandez, who was bothered by a cramp in his non-pitching arm.
Hernandez is 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA in six starts against the Tigers, but gave up three runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 loss to them on May 1.
The Royals, who held a players-only meeting Monday, will try to avoid losing 11 in a row for the second time this season. Kansas City is the eighth team since 1970 with two double-digit losing streaks in one season and is tied with four other squads in major league history for the fourth-worst record through 42 games.
The Royals lost 11 straight games from April 9-21.