The Tigers look to complete their second straight three-game series sweep of the struggling Royals when the teams conclude their set on Sunday afternoon at Kaufman Stadium.
Behind a strong outing from starter Zach Miner and another big hit from Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (64-65) won 4-0 on Saturday for its fifth consecutive victory over Kansas City, which has lost seven in a row for its third losing streak of at least that many games this season.
Detroit, which swept Kansas City (55-74) from July 21-23, had lost its first six meetings with the Royals in 2008 before turning things around after the All-Star break.
On Saturday, Miner allowed three hits in seven innings while Cabrera homered for the third time in two games, giving him 28 home runs and 100 RBIs in his first season with the Detroit.
“That’s a textbook baseball game,” said Detroit manager Jim Leyland, whose club has won six of their last nine contests. “We got good pitching, a long ball, we manufactured runs and we caught the ball. That’s how you draw it up. That is baseball at its best, a nice clean game for us.”
Cabrera is batting .381 (16-for-42) with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 10 games against Kansas City this season.
“You look up and he is hitting almost .300 (.292) and he’s got almost 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. He’s definitely as advertised as a hitter,” Miner said. “Pretty much, they are getting what they paid for. He’s an awesome player.”
Kenny Rogers (9-10, 4.94) takes the ball for the Tigers coming off his first victory since late July. The 43-year-old allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of an 8-7 victory at Texas on Monday to snap his personal four-game losing streak.
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA in three starts this year versus Kansas City, which included a 7-1 victory over the Royals on July 22.
The Royals are expected to counter with Brandon Duckworth, who is scheduled to be called up from the minors to make his first start of the season. Duckworth, who went 3-5 with a 4.63 in 26 games with three starts in 2007 for the Royals, was 5-11 in 27 games for Triple-A Omaha.
“He’s one of the guys that’s built up and he’s also experienced at this level,” Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said of the 32-year-old Duckworth, who also pitched for Houston and Philadelphia. “He’s been a good soldier in the minor leagues, being somewhat an experienced major league pitcher and performance.”
Duckworth is 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA in three career starts versus the Detroit.
Kansas City has lost 14 of its last 16 games and was shut out for the third time in 11 contests on Saturday.
Rookie shortstop Mike Aviles, however, is 12-for-25 while hitting safely in his last six games.