Royals 7, Tigers 2
DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers reached another milestone they’d rather not think about.
The Tigers became the first team in 34 years to lose 110 games in one season as Kansas City beat Detroit 7-2 Sunday behind three RBIs from Angel Berroa.
“At this point, the losses make no difference to me,” said the Tigers’ Bobby Higginson, who was on the 1996 Detroit team that lost 109 games. “It’s just bad. We knew it was coming. If we end at 110 or 119 losses, I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference. It’s a lot of losses, either way. It’s been a miserable year.”
The Tigers, who set a franchise record for losses, are 93-216 since the start of 2002, tying the 1952-53 Pittsburgh Pirates (92-216) for the sixth-most losses in consecutive years.
Detroit needs at least five wins in its last 14 games to avoid matching the 1962 New York Mets for the most losses in a season since 1900.
“I think guys at this point are physically and mentally gassed,” Higginson said. “It’s going to take guys digging down deep to avoid 120 losses. The young guys don’t know how to dig down, but they’re going to have to or we’ll pass 120.”
Manager Alan Trammell, who wound up his 20-year career with the Tigers in 1996, says he’s maintaining an upbeat outlook.
“The way I look at it is, we won Friday and if we win Monday, we’ll salvage a split,” he said. “I was hoping we could have held it off, but 110, 111, 109 losses—I look at each and every day as different. I know the number is there. I’m just not caught up in it. If I had an answer, I’d have fixed it by now.”
Jimmy Gobble (4-4) allowed both runs and five hits in seven innings for Kansas City, which remained 3 1/2 games behind Chicago and Minnesota, the AL Central co-leaders. Jeremy Affeldt finished with hitless relief.
“Today he looked more like a major league pitcher,” Royals manager Tony Pena said. “He was able to keep the ball down for the most part, using both sides of the plate real well with the fastball. (His) curveball was not sharp. He didn’t use the changeup that much, either. Basically, he pitched out of the fastball. I was very impressed.”
Berroa went 3-for-5 for the second consecutive game since Pena moved him into the leadoff spot.
“Sometimes you do the shuffle and it works,” Pena said. “Angel is swinging the bat well. He’s been swinging the bat well all year. That was one of the reasons why I put him in that spot.”
Nate Robertson (1-1) gave up six runs, seven hits and four walks in 2 1-3 innings.
Joe Randa’s RBI single put Kansas City ahead in the first and Berroa, who had three hits, had an RBI single in the second.
Rondell White hit a solo homer in the five-run third, and Berroa hit a two-run single off reliever Brian Schmack. Another run scored when center fielder Andres Torres’ throw was wild for an error, and Carlos Beltran hit a sacrifice fly.
A.J. Hinch had an RBI single in the fifth, and Torres hit his first majorleague homer in the sixth.
Beltran set a career high when he stole his 36th base of the season in the eighth. … After the game, Trammell said Jeremy Bonderman (6-18) will return to the starting rotation Friday at Minnesota. Bonderman pitched four scoreless innings on Sunday. … Torres’ homer landed in the gap between the old wall and the new fence in left field at Comerica Park. Of the 36 homers hitin that area, 18 have been by the Tigers.