Royals 9, Tigers 6
DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers know they are playing on Tuesday no matter what happens Sunday.
That’s why Tigers manager Jim Leyland isn’t going to dwell on Saturday’s 9-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals. He was even able to joke about the Tigers missing a chance to clinch the AL Central.
“This is over with, you can’t bring this game back. I’m not going to be disappointed long,” Leyland said. “I guess everybody knows that I was accurate on thing this year, I said it was going to go down to the wire.”
Detroit would have wrapped up the division with a win after the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-3 earlier in the day, cutting the Tigers’ magic number to one. Detroit ends the regular season Sunday against the Royals.
“No one is going to have a problem getting up for this game,” Sean Casey said. “It’s to win the division. I think the guys will be excited. It’s what we’ve been shooting for all year.”
With a win or Twins loss on Sunday, Detroit will take the AL Central and host Oakland for the start of the division series and Minnesota will be the wild card and open on the road against the New York Yankees. However, if the Twins win and the Tigers lose, Minnesota will take the division and host the A’s and Detroit will go to New York.
Following a 1 1/2 -hour rain delay at the start Saturday night, Kansas City sent 12 batters to the plate in a seven-run first inning.
Joey Gathright opened the game with a double and advanced to third when Esteban German singled to cap a 10-pitch at-bat. David DeJesus hit the first of his two triples in the game for a 2-0 lead and Mike Sweeney followed with a two-run homer, giving the Royals a cycle with the first four batters.
“We had a great first inning and then we just hung on,” interim Royals manager Bill Doran said. “We knew they would come roaring back with that offense, so we were going to need every run we could get. We did enough to win.”
The boos from the sellout crowd turned to cheers when Tigers manager Jim Leyland pulled starter Zach Miner (7-6) after 32 pitches. Miner only lasted one-third of an inning, allowing five hits and five runs.
Leyland said Miner was throwing well in warmups.
“He’s a sinkerball pitcher, all his pitches were up in the zone. I don’t have any problem with that, he hadn’t started in a while,” Leyland said.
“I stunk, I didn’t do my job,” Miller said. “I came with a chance to keep us in the game and I didn’t do that.”
Carlos Guillen had an RBI single in the bottom of the first and Detroit scored three runs in the third to pull to 7-4. Placido Polanco scored when third baseman German misplayed Guillen’s grounder, and Matt Stairs hit a two-run double.
Burgos gave up four runs and six hits over 2 2-3 innings in his first start of the season.
DeJesus tripled and scored on Sweeney’s sacrifice fly to stretch the Royals’ lead to 8-4 in the fourth.
Three Royals players misjudged Brandon Inge’s pop up in the bottom of the fourth. No one touched it and it was ruled a base hit. Inge advanced to third on Casey’s single then scored on Magglio Ordonez’s hit to cut the deficit to 8-5.
“Obviously, it was great to get that big first inning, and then the pitchers did a nice job of holding them off,” DeJesus said. “They were scoring, but only one at a time, so we were able to hold on.”
Royals second baseman Angel Sanchez made a sliding stop and throw to get Guillen at first to end the threat, leaving two runners stranded in the fourth.
Detroit pulled to 8-6 when Polanco singled to drive in Curtis Granderson, whose triple led off the sixth.
Jeff Keppinger added an RBI single in the seventh for the Royals.
: Cleveland was the last team to get a single, double, triple and homer from the game’s first four batters, accomplishing the feat against the Los Angeles Angels on May 17, 2005. … Burgos was the Royals’ 17th starting pitcher this season, breaking the old franchise record of 16 set in 1992. … Detroit RHP Justin Verlander, scratched from Saturday’s start with arm fatigue, played catch before the game and said that his arm was fine. … CF Gathright had his third three-hit game of the season. … The crowd of 40,071 brought Detroit’s home attendance to 2,555,782, breaking the Comerica Park record of 2,533,752 set in 2000, the park’s first season. … The game featured five wild pitches.