Detroit (32-14) at Kansas City (10-34)

Cloudy Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 2:10 pm EDT Thu May 25, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

One big reason for the Detroit Tigers’ surprising surge to the best record in baseball has been their play against the woeful Kansas City Royals.

The Tigers try to improve to 8-0 against their AL Central foes and hand the Royals a 13th straight loss on Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

Detroit (32-14) has outscored Kansas City 46-13 and outhomered the Royals 18-7 in winning all seven meetings this year. The Tigers are 5-0 at Kauffman Stadium.

Last year, the Tigers went 10-9 against the Royals (10-34) after failing to capture the season series against them the previous five seasons.

Detroit, which has never swept a four-game series against Kansas City, is a different team from those previous editions. The Tigers, who have won five straight and 12 of 13 overall, are 19-7 on the road this year—no other team in the majors has more than 14 road wins.

Omar Infante hit his first two homers of the season and Brandon Inge also homered as Detroit posted a 6-3 victory on Wednesday. Infante has had trouble getting into the lineup this year but has gone 7-for-12 while starting all three games in this series, raising his average from .267 to .333.

“He hasn’t complained once about playing time at all,” Inge said. “I like to see him do well. He’s worked hard in batting practice. It doesn’t shock me at all. He’s a good hitter.”

Closer Todd Jones worked the ninth to improve to 4-for-4 in save chances against Kansas City. He’s 15-for-16 on the year in save opportunities overall and has yet to allow a homer.

Second baseman Placido Polanco is batting .359 (14-for-39) during a nine-game hitting streak. Polanco is 10-for-30 against Kansas City this season after going 1-for-5 with a walk Wednesday.

Kansas City has matched the second-longest losing streak in club history, set from June 28-July 13, 1997. The longest skid was a 19-game run last season from July 28-Aug. 19.

Detroit starter Mike Maroth (5-2, 2.45 ERA) looks to improve to 2-0 against the Royals this season. He beat them on May 2, surrendering one run and four hits over six innings in a 4-1 victory at Comerica Park.

Maroth did not receive a decision in his last outing, giving up three runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings of a 7-6, 10-inning victory over Cincinnati on Saturday.

The left-hander is 4-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 10 career starts at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals are the only team in the majors yet to win a game against a left-handed starter, going 0-11.

Kansas City’s Denny Bautista (0-2, 3.75) seeks his first victory of the season in his sixth start. Bautista lost his last outing but pitched well, giving up one run and five hits over six innings in a 4-2 loss to St. Louis on Saturday.

“That is a positive,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “He was around the plate with most of his pitches”

Bautista is making his second career start against the Tigers. He allowed four runs and eight hits over six innings in a 7-3 loss at Comerica Park on Sept. 6, 2004.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Maroth Min vs. D. Bautista Sea
5-2 Record 0-3
4.19 ERA 5.62
24 K 27
16 BB 21
1.49 WHIP 1.63