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Archive for Thursday, September 25, 2008

Look out! Royals climb out of cellar

September 25, 2008

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Kansas City Royals second baseman Mike Aviles throws to first on a ground ball hit by Detroit's Miguel Cabrera. The Royals beat the Tigers, 10-4, on Wednesday in Detroit to escape last place.

Kansas City Royals second baseman Mike Aviles throws to first on a ground ball hit by Detroit's Miguel Cabrera. The Royals beat the Tigers, 10-4, on Wednesday in Detroit to escape last place.

K.C.'s rise

After the Royals' sweep of the Tigers, Kansas City leapfrogged Detroit in the AL Central standings:

1. Chicago: 86-71

2. Minnesota: 86-72

3. Cleveland: 79-79

4. Kansas City: 73-86

5. Detroit: 71-86

— Mitch Maier and the Kansas City Royals are trying to end the season on a high note. The Detroit Tigers just seem ready to finish it.

Mitch Maier hit a bases-loaded triple in Kansas City's seven-run fifth inning and the Royals beat the slumping Tigers, 10-4, on Wednesday night, completing a sweep of the three-game series.

Brian Bannister (9-16) pitched six shutout innings for the fourth-place Royals, bidding to avoid the AL Central basement for the first time in five seasons. Kansas City has won 11 of its last 13 and outscored Detroit, 21-6, during the series.

"The most satisfying thing this whole series has been how the team is playing," said Bannister, who has won two of his last three starts. "The guys right now have a lot of fire and they're playing well together.

"They're giving the pitching staff a lot of confidence."

Nate Robertson (7-11) was charged with eight runs, seven earned, and seven hits in 42â3 innings for Detroit.

"I felt I was in the zone with every pitch," Robertson said. "But the walks got to me in the fifth and everything fell apart."

Detroit, a popular preseason pick to win the AL pennant, is one game back of Kansas City and could finish last for the first time since 2003.

"We are just in an offensive funk right now," manager Jim Leyland said. "We have no excuses - the guys are out there trying every night. We just can't get anything going."

Placido Polanco hit a three-run homer and Mike Hessman added a solo shot for the Tigers, who have lost 12 of their last 13.

Tony Pena Jr. and John Buck each drove in two runs for Kansas City as the bottom third of the order - Buck, Pena and Maier - went 5-for-12.

"We got a lot of production there tonight," manager Trey Hillman said. "It was good to see."

Pena and Buck both had bases-loaded walks and Jose Guillen and Alex Gordon also drove in a run in the fifth before Maier's three-run triple.

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