Tigers 12, Royals 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Ivan Rodriguez makes it seem easy.
“I just concentrate to put the ball in play and hit the ball hard, try to make good contact,” said Rodriguez, who raised his league-leading average to .373.
The Royals wound up with three prospects: highly touted third baseman Mark Teahen and right-hander Mike Wood from Oakland, and catcher John Buck from the Astros.
Beltran can become a free agent after the season and almost certainly would have been too expensive for the Royals to re-sign.
“I feel pretty good about this. Obviously, it’s bittersweet,” Kansas City general manager Allard Baird said.
“It was obvious we were not going to be able to sign Carlos. But I think we’ve helped this club and gotten some players that should have very productive major league careers,” he said. “I’m going to bring Buck and Wood to the majors right away.”
Rodriguez was 4-for-5 with his fourth four-hit game of the season. He is hitting .478 in his last 23 games with 10 doubles, three homers and 21 RBIs.
“When you watch his approach to hitting, you can see why he’s going to go to the Hall of Fame,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. “It’s not normal. He doesn’t miss pitches like many hitters do. He centers balls as well as anybody I’ve seen.”
Carlos Pena hit a two-run double in a six-run second inning against Chris George (1-1) and singled in the third, giving him hits in eight consecutive at-bats in day games at Kansas City. He grounded out in the fourth.
On May 27, Pena was 6-for-6 with six RBIs in Detroit’s 17-7 win at the Royals.
George allowed nine runs and 10 hits in three-plus innings.
“I made bad pitches and they hit them,” George said. “I made good pitches and they hit them, too. But there were more bad than good.”
Four of the runs were unearned because of third baseman Joe Randa’s fielding error in the second.
“It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you play a game like this one today,” said Randa, who led major league third basemen last year with a .980 fielding percentage.
“It’s part of the game. We’re out there trying our best and we’re not going to be perfect,” Randa said. “You hope your teammates pick you up.”
Robertson won his fourth straight decision, allowing three runs, four hits and four walks in six innings. He gave up a solo home run to Beltran in the first inning and did not allow another hit until Mike Sweeney homered leading off the fourth to make it 9-2.
Rodriguez’s two-run double capped the six-run second that also included doubles by Pena and Marcus Thames. Higginson had an RBI single in the fourth and Rodriguez followed with a two-run double.
Angel Berroa had an RBI single for the Royals in the fourth.
“This was a good win,” Trammell said. “We needed this one.”
Inge, Detroit’s third baseman, had not committed an error in 150 chances before he misplayed Berroa’s grounder in the second inning. He also had an error on Tony Graffanino’s grounder in the fifth. The Tigers’ 67 errors lead the major leagues. … The Royals haven’t swept a three-game series sincebeating Texas last Aug. 26-28.