KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- In a season when they may break their franchise record of 97 losses, the Kansas City Royals were especially grateful to get a laugher.
Chuck Knoblauch, Raul Ibanez and Aaron Guiel homered as the Royals routed Detroit 17-2 Tuesday night in their highest-scoring game of the year.``It was nice to just kind of relax for once and have a good time for a change,'' said manager Tony Pena.Even a former Royals manager was all smiles.John ``Duke'' Wathan, who both played and managed for the Royals, watched as his son Dusty made his major league debut in the eighth inning and hit an RBI double in his first at-bat.``I was watching Duke and it was like he was afraid to look,'' said Pena. ``I was really getting a kick out of him.'' Said the elder Wathan, who is now a special assignment scout for the Royals, ``This is the most fun I've had at a ballgame in a long time.''Ibanez, who'd never driven in more than 54 runs in his four-year career, raised his RBI total to 103 with the two-run shot off Shane Loux (0-3) in the third.It was the 24th homer for the first baseman/outfielder, whose
emergence has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise dreadful year
for Kansas City.``I just am grateful to Tony Pena for having the courage to put me in there on an everyday basis,'' said Ibanez. ``I was hitting about .200 at the time.''This was the largest margin of defeat this year for the Tigers,
who had twice lost by 11, and the second time they gave up 17 runs.
The Royals' previous high was 16 runs scored this season.``Any time you lose like that, it's tough to swallow,'' said
Detroit manager Luis Pujols. ``But I'm more concerned that we
didn't make a couple of plays or pitch well.''Miguel Asencio (4-7) went five innings, yielding two runs on
five hits, with five walks and five strikeouts.Guiel had a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the eighth.The Tigers, while losing their 102nd game, committed four
errors. Shortstop Omar Infante had two on one play in the five-run
sixth when he misplayed Angel Berroa's grounder, then threw the
ball into right field while trying to get a force out at second.The Royals scored a run in the second on catcher Mike Rivera's
two-base throwing error on Joe Randa's bunt, Loux's wild pitch and
a fielding error by third baseman Shane Halter.Knoblauch hit his sixth homer in the third. He also made the
last out in both the fifth and sixth innings as the Royals batted
around.Mike Sweeney, who began the night leading in the AL batting
race, was 1-for-2 and stayed at .347.``It was nice to see so many guys swinging the bats so well,''
he said.Sweeney, who got into a brawl last year with then-Tiger pitcher
Jeff Weaver, refused to talk about Matt Anderson's plunking him in
the ribs.Sweeney had an RBI double in the four-run fifth for the Royals.
Randa, Brent Mayne and Carlos Febles also had RBI.In the sixth, Michael Tucker had a two-run single, Berroa drove in a run with an infield out, and Mayne and Febles had RBI singles.The Tigers got a run in the third on Robert Fick's RBI grounder
and Halter's RBI single in the fourth.
Sweeney made a nifty play at first base in the second
inning, fading back to his right and catching Damion Easley's soft
liner with his back to the infield. ... The Tigers claimed LHP
Jason Jimenez off waivers from Tampa Bay. They also transferred
infielder Dmitri Young from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. ... Royals
coach Tom Gamboa, who was attacked at Comiskey Park during a game
last week, is experiencing hearing loss in his right ear. The
Royals coach said he planned to see a hearing specialist, but that
the soreness seems to be going out of his neck.