The Kansas City Royals opened August with a big offensive outburst. Now they are trying to close the month with one as well.
The Royals, coming off their second-highest scoring game of the season, complete a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
Kansas City (57-78) has won four of five in Detroit against the Tigers (65-70) this season, including a 13-3 victory on Saturday. Billy Butler homered twice and drove in four runs to pace a 17-hit attack for the Royals. The 13 runs fell one shy of matching a season high for Kansas City, which has the second lowest-scoring offense in the AL at 4.1 runs per game.
“It was a big night,” said Butler, who hit a three-run homer during a four-run sixth “We needed to put up some runs. We’ve got the offensive power to do it and we showed it tonight.”
Butler and the Royals are trying to end a frustrating August on a positive note. After winning two of three against the Central-leading White Sox to begin the month, they have won just five of their last 23 and failed to win a series in that span. Kansas City scored 23 runs in its final two games with the White Sox, but then averaged 2.9 runs before Saturday’s win.
While his team may be struggling offensively, Butler is hitting .323 (32-for-99) in August with five doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs.
The Royals will try to continue their success at the plate against AL Rookie of the Year candidate Armando Galarraga (12-4, 3.20 ERA). The right-hander has won his last five decisions and compiled a 2.74 ERA over his last seven starts.
Galarraga, who limited the Royals to one run and three hits in seven innings of a 7-1 win July 23, had won three consecutive starts before allowing three runs and eight hits over seven innings of Detroit’s 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Indians on Monday.
He will try to give the beleaguered Tigers’ bullpen, which has a 9.98 ERA the last four games, a break. Demoted starter Nate Robertson gave up six runs in 1 1-3 innings in relief of Kenny Rogers on Saturday, and Detroit’s 4.46 ERA among its relievers is one of the worst in the majors.
Gil Meche (10-10, 4.13) counters for Kansas City. He gave up five runs and a season-high 14 hits on Monday in a 9-4 loss to the Rangers, ending a personal four-game winning streak.
“I could never get it going,” said Meche, who had a 2.65 ERA his previous nine starts. “It was bad. … That’s one of the games you want to just forget about and just keep moving on.”
Meche is 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 16 starts against the Tigers, including 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts this season.