Series: Game 2 of 3

Kansas City leads 2-0 (as of 4/19)

Game 1: Friday, April 18
in 11
Kansas City4
Game 2: Saturday, April 19
Kansas City9
Game 3: Sunday, April 20
Kansas City4

Tigers 2

(1-15, 0-8 away)

Royals 9

(13-3, 7-0 home)

    2:05 PM ET, April 19, 2003

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 002000000 2 6 0
    KC 00500400 - 9 12 1

    W: A. Lopez (3-0)

    L: G. Knotts (0-2)

    Lopez comes to rescue for Royals

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Even losing their starting pitcher after three innings to a blister couldn't slow down the Kansas City Royals.

    Albie Lopez pitched five scoreless innings in relief of Jeremy Affeldt as the Royals beat Detroit 9-2 Saturday to hand the Tigers their 15th loss in 16 games this season.

    Desi Relaford homered and Raul Ibanez had a two-run single in a five-run third inning for the Royals, who improved to 7-0 at Kauffman Stadium this season and are the last remaining undefeated team at home in the majors. Their 13-3 start is the best in club history after 16 games.

    Lopez (3-0) was a big reason why, shutting out the Tigers on one hit to get the win.

    "Albie came through big,'' Royals manager Tony Pena said. "We were short today in the bullpen and he came through and saved our bullpen. He didn't make too many pitches, throwing first-pitch strikes.''

    The Tigers are 0-4 against Kansas City this season and are off to the worst start in franchise history and the worst in baseball since the Royals went 1-16 in 1992.

    Affeldt missed nearly two months last season with a finger blister and broken nail and went to the bullpen when he returned.

    "I'm pretty upset,'' Affeldt said. "I'm not real happy. Obviously, I'm angry. I'll do whatever it takes to keep throwing. I'm not going to let it get to me.''

    Affeldt said the blister developed throwing a fastball.

    "I went to my curveball and changeup in the last inning because I hurt,'' Affeldt said. "Being a competitor, I wanted to go out there with my curveball and changeup, but maybe it was not the best for the team.''

    Trainer Nick Swartz indicated Affeldt would likely miss at least one start because he said it takes four-to-seven days to get new skin over the blister.

    Relaford led off the third inning with a home run into the right field bullpen, his first with the Royals. The inning also included doubles by Angel Berroa, Michael Tucker and Joe Randa.

    With the bases loaded, Ibanez greeted reliever Steve Sparks with a two-run single.

    Berroa had three hits, including two doubles, and scored two runs for Kansas City.

    Tigers starter Gary Knotts (0-2) retired only seven of the 13 batters he faced and gave up five runs and five hits, four of them for extra-bases.

    "Relaford hit a 3-2 pitch (out) and you're certainly not expecting that,'' Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "Maybe it got to him (Knotts), maybe it flustered him a little bit. He started falling behind hitters after that.

    "He wasn't as sharp as he was in his first two outings. He's not a finished product yet, but has a good arm.''

    The Royals scored four more runs in the sixth off Sparks, which was highlighted by run-scoring doubles by Berroa and Mike DiFelice and Relaford's RBI single. Tucker singled home the final run in the inning.

    Bobby Higginson's two-run triple in the third gave the Tigers a 2-0 advantage.

    "We score two runs and we gave up five runs in the same inning,'' Trammell said. "We had a little momentum and had it taken away.

    Game notes

    Randa left in the fifth inning with tightness in his left hamstring. Pena said it was not major and that Randa should be able to play Sunday. ...The 1920 and 1959 Tigers began 2-14. ... Rain delayed the start of the game 14 minutes. ... Carlos Beltran is 0-for-7 with three strikeouts in two games since coming off the disabled list with a strained right oblique. ... Higginson leads the Tigers with five extra-base hits. ... Sweeney committed two errors, his first of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press