Tigers 9, Royals 1

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Good things always seem to happen for the Detroit Tigers when Nate Robertson pitches at Kansas City.

With almost 50 friends and family members on hand, Robertson threw his first complete game and was backed by Craig Monroe’s two home runs and five RBIs in a 9-1 victory over the Royals.

“Every time I pitch here, the guys just hit the ball,” said Robertson (12-7), who became the first left-hander to win 12 games for the Tigers since 1997.

The native of Wichita, Kan., is 3-0 in three starts in Kauffman Stadium. The Tigers have won by scores of 17-7, 12-3 and now 9-1.

Monroe had his second career two-homer game and fell just one RBI short of his career high.

“Sometimes it weighs on guys’ minds when they’re playing close to home,” said Robertson, whose brother, Josh, is assistant general manager of the Royals’ Double-A club in Wichita.

Robertson allowed one run and six hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks.

“It was my grandmother’s second major league game she’s ever been to,” he said. “It’s pretty special for her.

Ivan Rodriguez added a two-run homer for the Tigers, who snapped a four-game losing streak and sent the Royals to their 10th loss in 12 games.

Monroe gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the second with his second homer in two games, sending a 1-1 pitch from Mike Wood (2-7) to left.

Rodriguez, who missed the previous three games with flulike symptoms, hit a two-run shot off Wood in the third to make it 4-0. It was Rodriguez’s 17th homer and the 1,000th run he has scored in his career.

Facing Wood again in the fifth after Carlos Guillen and Carlos Pena walked, Monroe hit a 1-0 pitch 408 feet over the fence in left to make it 7-0.

Since being recalled from a rehab assignment in Triple-A Toledo on Aug. 7, Monroe has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games with seven homers, 18 RBIs, seven doubles and 16 runs scored. He’s hitting .379 in the stretch.

“I went on the DL and went to Toledo, and that cleared my mind,” Monroe said. “I stopped thinking about so much stuff, things that I couldn’t control. It’s really paying off.”

Calvin Pickering hit a long home run—his fourth—off Robertson in the fifth.

Guillen added a two-run double in the ninth off Matt Kinney to cap the scoring.

Wood lost for the seventh time in eight decisions, allowing seven runs and seven hits in five innings. He also walked three.

“Wood was struggling with command,” Royals manager Tony Pena said. “He had a tough time commanding the sinker ball. He hung a slider twice and a changeup to Monroe and Rodriguez. Lately, we’ve been giving up a lot of home runs, and only two have come on a fastball. We’re hanging a lot of breaking balls.”

Notes

Justin Thompson went 15-11 in 1997, the last Tigers lefty to win at least 12 games. … The right-field ballboy had an embarrassing moment in the second when Bobby Higginson hit a grounder down the line. As the umpire signaled fair ball, the boy jumped off his bench and made a nice stop in foul territory. Higginson was credited with a ground-rule double. … Royals CF David DeJesus left at the top of the second after colliding with shortstop Angel Berroa. The team said he had a strained neck and a mild concussion, and is day to day … Monroe has one other multihomer game, against Anaheim last Aug. 23. … Dmitri Young singled off reliever Matt Kinney in the seventh for his 1,000th career hit. … Berroa made another error, giving him three in three games—and 25 this year.

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