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 1½-hour rain delay at the start Saturday night,
Kansas City sent 12 batters to the plate in a seven-run first
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
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
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.