Coming off a big night in the opener of a six-game homestand, the Tigers (8-5) look to stay hot at the plate Tuesday night when they continue a three-game set against the struggling Kansas City Royals.
After a 2-1 loss at Toronto on Sunday, the Tigers’ offense woke up with a 12-5 win over the Royals on Monday in just their third home game of 2007. Detroit had a season high for runs and scored at least 10 for the second time in three games.
Rodriguez had a grand slam and six RBIs in the series opener, continuing to hit Royals pitching hard this season and throughout his career. The 35-year-old catcher has three homers and 11 RBIs so far in 2007—with all but one RBI coming against Kansas City (3-10).
“They’ve made adjustments to me, but I get to make adjustments too,” said Rodriguez, who has hit safely in 11 straight games against the Royals at Comerica Park.
Now in his 17th season, Rodriguez is batting .357 with 21 homers and 101 RBIs versus the Royals.
“He’s hurt more than just us in his career,” Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said. “He’s the best catcher I’ve seen. I don’t think there’s been anyone better with that combination of offense and defense.”
If Rodriguez and the Tigers are continue their offensive success, they’ll have to get to Kansas City left-hander Jorge De La Rosa on Tuesday, something they couldn’t do earlier this season.
De La Rosa (1-1, 3.55 ERA) allowed one run and four hits in a career-high seven innings during the Royals’ 3-1 win on April 6 in his season debut and only career appearance against Detroit. Rodriguez went 0-for-3.
That was the Royals’ only win of that three-game series. Kansas City has lost five straight and is 1-8 since then.
Though De La Rosa shined against Detroit , he struggled in his last outing, allowing four earned runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings of Kansas City’s 7-4 loss at Toronto on Wednesday.
The left-hander, who pitched in just 13 games in 2006 after arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, allowed four runs and six hits in five innings in Detroit’s 6-5 win at Kansas City on April 7.
He gave up two runs and nine hits in six innings in his most recent start, a 5-4 win at Toronto on Thursday.
“It’s good to be back and going out and pitching again,” said Maroth, who is 10-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 23 games and 22 starts against the Royals.
Catcher John Buck and left fielder Emil Brown each had two hits and an RBI for the Royals on Monday. Buck, who is hitting .429 in a limited role, is 7-for-22 (.318) with a homer and three RBIs against Maroth.