DETROIT (AP)—Dee Brown has no idea why he’s been so successful against the Detroit Tigers throughout his career. Whatever the reason, he’s sure to be in the starting lineup whenever the Kansas City Royals play them.
Brown had his first career two-homer game and drove in four runs to lead the Royals to a 6-2 victory Tuesday night.
Brown has six career homers against Detroit and just eight against the rest of the majors. He’s homered twice against the Twins, and once each against six teams.
“I don’t know if I just see the ball well here or what—it’s a really big ballpark,” Brown said. “It’s better this year, but their pitching hasn’t been very good in the past.”
Royals manager Tony Pena doesn’t have an explanation either, but plans to ride the hot hand.
“I guess I better keep playing him against the Tigers,” he said.
Jimmy Serrano (1-1) picked up his first major league victory with three scoreless innings of relief, helping the Royals win for just the fifth time in 16 games.
“That was exciting,” he said. “I’ve got the ball and the scorecard.”
Serrano, who hadn’t pitched since Aug. 28, walked the first two batters he faced, but only allowed one more baserunner.
“I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes,” he said. “And after the first two batters, I still wanted to do that. I was a little rusty, but I was able to settle down and get in a groove.”
“That’s baseball,” Monroe said. “It’s tough to lose, but a lot is going to happen in a nine-inning game, and tonight, all the good things happened for them.”
Nate Robertson (12-8) allowed five runs and nine hits in six-plus innings, losing for the first time in four starts.
“I thought I was controlling the game pretty well early on,” Robertson said. “But I started missing some pitches and they made me pay for it.”
Pena’s career-high 20th homer in the second and Monroe’s 14th homer in the fourth—both off Brian Anderson—gave the Tigers an early 2-0 lead.
Joe Randa, who went 3-for-4, led off the fifth with a double and took third on Calvin Pickering’s infield single. Brown made it 2-1 by grounding into a force at second, then moved to third on John Buck’s double to left.
Kansas City went ahead in the seventh when Randa led off with another double and scored on Pickering’s single to center. Brown then made it 5-2 lining a 3-1 pitch from Robertson just inside the right-field foul pole.
Kansas City had runners on second and third with no outs later in the inning, but reliever Al Levine got out of the jam.
In the ninth, Brown sent Franklyn German’s 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall to give the Royals a 6-2 lead. Brown went 2-for-4 and scored three times.
Anderson gave up two runs on six hits in five innings for Kansas City.
“We got the lead against him, but we could never add to it,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “That team always plays us tough, and we never seem to be able to close them out. I’m scratching my head here.”
The Royals’ win clinched the season series against the Tigers, and they have won the series every year since 1999. … The crowd of 17,462 was Detroit’s smallest since they drew 16,711 on June 3 against the Royals. … Monroe’s homer was the 42nd this year to land between the old fence in left field and the shorter, temporary wall—one more than last year. In the two years since the fence was moved, the Tigers have given up 44 such homers and hit 39. … Serrano was making his first career relief performance after making five starts to begin his career.