KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers moved a step closer
to clinching their first playoff berth in 19 years.
Curtis Granderson homered, tripled and drove in three runs in a
10-run first inning to help the Tigers rout the Kansas City Royals
15-4 on Saturday night. Detroit maintained its 1½-game lead in the
AL Central over Minnesota.
The Tigers, who lost an AL-record 119 games in 2003, reduced
their magic number to one for clinching their first playoff berth
"I hear people are already starting to plan celebrations,"
Granderson said. "I understand it seems like such a big deal for
the fans and for the city. But at the same time, it would be a
little celebration, hopefully, compared to winning the division. I
hope it is not a huge one.
"For me, if we happen to win the game here [Sunday], for
example, normal routine after the game, congratulate everybody,
come in to the dugout, little hugs and what not, but I don't think
it should be too blown up."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland does not want to talk about the
playoff just yet.
"We are on the verge, but we haven't done it yet," Leyland
said. "Hopefully we can get it accomplished tomorrow. It would be
real sweet. We would like to take that first step, which be to get
in. It would be a pretty big accomplishment. An unexpected
accomplishment, I would think."
Left-hander Kenny Rogers (17-6) held the Royals to five hits and
one run over eight innings. Rogers struck out three and walked one.
"We've still got work to do," Rogers said. "By no means are
we going to get complacent and sit back and wait for something.
We're going to go out and do what we're capable of doing. We all
want to win the division."
The Tigers jumped all over the Royals, scoring 10 runs in the
"I told them to keep scoring, I'll make sure I'm loose,"
Rogers said. "The more they score, I don't mind a bit."
Granderson led off the game for the fifth time this season with
a home run. His triple to right scored Placido Polanco and Chris
"When I got to third base, [Jeff] Keppinger, their third
baseman, told me I got the two hardest out of the way for a
cycle," Granderson said. "He jinxed me. I ended up not doing
anything else after that. It seemed like it would have been easy to
do, but I couldn't get a hit after that."
Polanco was playing for the first time since Aug. 15 when he
separated his left shoulder, contributing a two-run double and had
three hits. Every Tigers starter reached base in the inning except
for Craig Monroe, who grounded out twice.
"The shoulder feels good," Polanco said. "It bothers me a
little bit, but I think it is past the stage where it was hurting.
It bothers me more than it hurts. I can live with that. It is going
to be part of me for a while."
Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge, Chris Shelton and Marcus Thames
each had run-scoring hits in the first inning. Ivan Rodriguez
walked twice in the inning, including the second time with the
The 10 runs and nine hits in the inning were season-highs for
the Tigers, who sent 16 men to the plate.
Royals left-hander Mark Redman (10-10) retired only one of the
10 batters he faced, allowing nine runs, before being replaced by
Scott Dohmann. Kansas City also gave up 11 runs to Cleveland in the
first inning on Aug. 13.
"I was too strong out there," said Redman, who had not pitched
since Sept. 17 after two off-days last week. "When I am strong,
the ball stays flat."
The last time the Tigers scored more than 10 runs in an inning
was April 23, 2004, when they had an 11-run sixth against
Granderson added another RBI in the five-run fourth on a
groundout. Guillen's single scored Thames and Magglio Ordonez.
Shelton had a run-scoring double. Jose Diaz had a wild pitch, which
scored Craig Monroe.
"It wasn't pretty," Royals interim manager Billy Doran said.
"You just put it behind us and move on. That's the only way you do
after a night like this."
Rogers, who is 6-0 in his past eight starts since an Aug. 12
loss, lost his shutout in the eighth, when John Buck led off with
his 10th home run. He also added a two-run homer in the ninth to
make it 15-4.
The Royals need to go 5-3 in their remaining eight games to
avoid their third consecutive 100-loss season. ... The Tigers have
hit 29 home runs against the Royals this season. ... The Tigers are
13-1 against the Royals this season, including 8-0 at Kauffman
Stadium. ... Royals 2B Esteban German went 0-for-4, snapping his
career-high nine-game hitting streak.