Tigers' four-run eighth sends Royals to 11th straight loss

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Even crusty old managers like Detroit's Jim Leyland can feel warm and fuzzy over wins like this.

Down 4-0 early to a Kansas City team desperate to snap an embarrassing losing streak, the Tigers fought back with four runs in the eighth and one in the ninth Tuesday night. Their 8-5 victory was the 11th straight loss for the increasingly hapless Royals but, to Leyland, it was a sure sign his team is beginning to grasp what he's been saying.

"I look at the little stuff -- get a rally going. That's baseball," Leyland said. "We talked about that all spring. We haven't done it. We haven't done it very much. We told them it was there."

Curtis Granderson's double keyed the four-run eighth and took starter Kenny Rogers, who gave up four home runs, off the hook. Joel Zumaya (2-0), who went 1 2/3 hitless innings, was the winner.

Leyland, who won over 1,000 games and a World Series title before giving up the everyday stresses of managing in 2000, is encouraged now that the Tigers are getting his message. They have won 11 of 12 games and have the best record in the majors (31-14).

"It means they're thinking about it," he said.

Mark Grudzielanek had two of the four home runs from the normally light-hitting Royals, who led 4-0 after three innings and took a 5-3 lead into the eighth.

Ambiorix Burgos struck out the first two batters in the inning but walked Craig Monroe, bringing in reliever Elmer Dessens.

Omar Infante and Brandon Inge both singled, making it 5-4. Granderson then delivered the two-run double into center which Aaron Guiel almost got with a shoestring catch.

Placido Polanco followed with an RBI single and the Royals had their second 11-game losing streak of the still-young season.

"It is a situation, where it just snowballs," manager Buddy Bell said. "We've got to figure out a way to stop it. We get two outs, nobody on and they score four. I can't explain it. It will only get better. Right now, I don't these guys are feeling very well."

Dessens (2-4) got just one out and gave up four hits and three runs.

The Royals dropped to a major league-worst 10-33 and triggered a rain of boos from the modest crowd when they blew the lead in the eighth.

Reggie Sanders and Emil Brown also homered for Kansas City in the meeting between the team with the worst record and fewest home runs in the majors and the team with the best record and fewest homers allowed.

Rogers went 6 1/3 innings and gave up 10 hits and five runs. Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 opportunities.

"Chuck and duck," Rogers said with a wry grin.

"Getting down 4-0, that's bothersome. But my goal was to hold them right there and try to give my team a chance to get some momentum and peck away a little bit. I could feel the momentum had the ability to shift. Our guys were going to score. I felt that."

Grudzielanek hit his first home run of the year in the first inning. In the third, Grudzielanek singled and Sanders and Brown followed with back-to-back homers for a 4-0 lead.

Grudzielanek, who was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI, hit a solo shot in the seventh that chased Rogers.

Carlos Guillen hit a two-run, 423-foot shot off Runelvys Hernandez in the sixth inning. In the seventh, Granderson made it 4-3 with an RBI double off Burgos.

Hernandez went 5 1/3 innings and was charged with two runs and eight hits.

"That thought process of `How are we going to lose today?' has been erased," Monroe said. "It's gone. Now we focus on what can we do to win this game. Skipper does a good job making sure we're prepared. He makes this atmosphere so much fun. But at the same time, it's business.

"You can't control wins and losses. But you can control how you prepare, and when you prepare the way this team is preparing every day, you come here confident that you've got a chance."

Game notes
Guiel made an outstanding catch of Polanco's drive into straightaway center with two outs and one on in the fifth. ... The Tigers placed DH Dmitri Young on the 15-day DL and purchased the contract of 3B Jack Hannahan from Triple-A Toledo. ... Granderson is error-free in his first 97 games as a major league outfielder.