KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—For Detroit manager Alan Trammell, watching his team set the American League record for losses wasn’t much of a change from sitting through the Tigers’ previous defeats.
“It’s no different, and I’ll just leave it at that,” he said after Kansas City beat the Tigers 12-6 Monday night, Detroit’s 118th loss.
Detroit, which surpassed the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics (36-117), must win five of its final six games to avoid tying the post-1900 major league record set by the 1962 New York Mets, who went 40-120.
Trammell, who has kept an upbeat outlook all season, may miss the record-tying defeat. His mother, Anne, died on Saturday, and he will not be at the next two games while he attends her funeral.
“In light of my situation, it will be difficult to come back, but I will,” Trammell said. “I’m going to continue to stand here and be accountable.”
The Tigers lost for the 10th straight time, one short of their season high, and for the 16th time in 17 games.
“Irrespective of the record, it’s still a game, and we still enjoy playing it,” said Gary Knotts (6-8). “We still have some games to play.”
White went 4-for-4, Carlos Beltran homered, and Joe Randa went 3-for-3. With its 82nd win, Kansas City ensured its first winning year since going 64-51 in the strike-shortened 1994 season—after losing a franchise-record 100 games in 2002.
“This is probably the most fun I’ve had since I signed professionally,” said Ibanez, who homered and went 3-for-4. “Last year, at this time of year, it was hard to even come to the park.”
The Royals’ winning season also guaranteed that four-time All-Star Mike Sweeney will remain with the team through 2007.
When Sweeney signed a $55 million, five-year contract extension in May 2002, he insisted on a clause that would have let him walk away if the team didn’t produce a .500 or better season by 2004.
“I figured we’d have at least 81 wins in a season when I signed,” Sweeney said. “I’m just glad to get it out of the way this year.”
The Royals still have higher ambitions, though.
“Our goal was to win our division, and that’s still our goal,” manager Tony Pena said.
Jeremy Affeldt (7-6), the second of four Royals pitchers, threw two scoreless innings.
Knotts gave up six runs, five hits and three walks in four-plus innings.
Detroit fell behind 4-1, then tied the game with a three-run fifth before allowing a pair of runs in the bottom half and five in the sixth.
After the Tigers tied the score in the fifth, White and Desi Relaford hit RBI singles in the bottom half.
Then in the sixth, Sweeney hit an RBI double off Franklyn German and Ibanez hit a run-scoring single. White followed with a two-run double off Chris Spurling and Angel Berroa singled in a run off Brian Schmack.
Royals starter Paul Abbott left in the fifth inning after straining theoblique muscle in his left side.
Dmitri Young’s RBI single in the fifth broke Affeldt’s streak of 31 batters faced without a hit. … The Tigers recalled INF Omar Infante from Triple-A Toledo. In 61 previous games with Detroit this season, Infante hit .213 with no home runs and seven RBIs. … Detroit’s Alex Sanchez was out on an unusual interference call in the sixth. He bunted up the first-base line with arunner on second, but his bat hit the ball in fair territory.