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Dirty dozen: Royals' skid reaches 12 with loss to Tigers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Detroit manager Jim Leyland gave his own
version of a commencement speech to Jeremy Bonderman on Wednesday
night.

After Matt Stairs slugged a three-run homer in the sixth inning,
Leyland told the 23-year-old Bonderman it was "time to graduate."

And apparently he did. Bonderman settled down and did not allow
another run Wednesday night while the Tigers, with two home runs
from Omar Infante, beat Kansas City 6-3 to hand the Royals their
12th straight loss.

Leyland wanted to make sure Bonderman (5-3) didn't get flustered
after allowing Stairs' homer.

"I told him it's time to graduate and really become the major
league pitcher you can be," Leyland said. "This is a perfect time
for you to turn the page, get your concentration on the next hitter
and put that in the memory bank somewhere. This is where you either
graduate or you don't."

Bonderman, who went seven innings and gave up three runs and 10
hits, was not ready to say he aced the test.

"He said, `You've got to step up," Bonderman recalled. "You
can't feel sorry for yourself for that home run. I was able to make
some pitches and the guys played some defense."

Brandon Inge also homered and Ivan Rodriguez had three hits for
the Tigers, who lead the majors with a 32-14 record and the AL with
39 road homers. Detroit has won 12 of its last 13 and has a major
league-best 19 road victories.

The hapless Royals dropped to 10-34 and are beginning to draw
comparisons with the 2003 Detroit team that lost an AL-record 119
games and the 1962 New York Mets whose 120 losses set the modern
futility record.

In their 12-game skid, their second double-digit losing streak
already this year, the Royals have been outscored 87-41.

"We had some opportunities offensively," manager Buddy Bell
said.

In three starts this year against Kansas City, Bonderman is 3-0
with a 1.66 ERA.

"He has always looked impressive to us," Bell said.

The Tigers have outscored the Royals 46-13 and outhomered them
18-7 in taking the first seven games against them this season.

After wrapping up the four-game Detroit series on Thursday, the
Royals begin a 10-game trip Friday night with three in Yankee
Stadium, where they have lost 14 in a row. They are 2-20 on the
road this season.

Bonderman is 4-0 in six road starts.

"It's one game. I've got to keep doing it," he said. "It's a
long year. I'm just trying to be part of the success around here."

Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.

Jimmy Gobble (0-1) gave the Royals a solid outing in an
emergency start for Mark Redman, going four innings and giving up
only three hits and one run. It was the left-handed reliever's
first start since last Sept. 21.

Infante hit his first homer with two outs and none on in the
second and added a second solo drive in the eighth. He's played in
only four of Detroit's last 13 games.

"He hasn't complained once about playing time at all," Inge
said. "I like to see him do well. He's worked hard in batting
practice. It doesn't shock me at all. He's a good hitter."

Marcus Thames drew a two-out walk from Mike Wood ahead of Inge's
two-run shot in the fifth.

In the sixth, runs scored on a fielding error by first baseman
Doug Mientkiewicz and Infante's fielder's choice.

"Inexcusable -- no two ways about it," Mientkiewicz said.
"I've made that play 2,000 times in my career."

Game notes
Placido Polanco has a nine-game hitting streak. ... Each
team turned an unusual 3-6 double play in the fourth. ... Redman
was placed on the bereavement list and will be eligible to come
back in three days. ... In their last 33 games, Detroit starters
are 20-6. Tigers starters lead the majors with 27 victories. ...
The Royals are 1-19 when they have an error.