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Royals labor in loss to Tigers
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09/06/2004 5:54 PM ET 
Royals labor in loss to Tigers
Miscues costly as Kansas City drops series opener

Second baseman Ruben Gotay has hit .272 in 40 games with the Royals. (Duane Burleson/AP)

DETROIT -- It was truly Labor Day for the Royals, who struggled in practically all phases of the game on Monday afternoon.

The Royals dropped a 7-3 decision to the Detroit Tigers as only two runs -- two solo home runs -- weren't tainted by either a physical or mental miscue. There were three errors in the game.

Denny Bautista (0-1), making his debut for Kansas City and his first Major League start, took the loss.

"It was a very, very sloppy game," said Royals manager Tony Pena. "Defensively, we played terribly."

Bautista allowed four runs, three in the first inning, over six innings. Detroit managed eight hits against Bautista, who walked two and struck out two.

"In the first inning, I felt real nervous," Bautista said. "But after that I settled down and threw my fastball and changeup."

Tigers starter Wilfredo Ledezma (4-2) got the win as he allowed two runs -- one earned -- in six innings on seven hits. He walked two and struck out one.

Gary Knotts pitched the final three innings for his second save of the season.

   Angel Berroa  /   SS
Born: 01/27/78
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 175 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Angel Berroa homered and Matt Stairs was 2-for-4 and drove in a run for the Royals.

Bautista's first-inning problems were not all his doing. He clearly deserved a better fate.

After he had retired the first two batters, Carlos Guillen singled and Bautista walked Dmitri Young. Carlos Pena then hit a short fly ball to left. But left fielder Desi Relaford misjudged the ball and had to race in and make a diving attempt to catch it. He couldn't and Detroit wound up with a run and Pena was credited with an RBI double.

"The last time I played left field, it was against these guys and Pena hit one over my head and up the alley," said Relaford, "I just couldn't get a good read on it ... It seemed to be tailing away from me."

Craig Monroe then hit a topper between the mound and first. Both Bautista and first baseman Ken Harvey -- playing in his first game since mid-August -- went for the ball. Bautista grabbed it with a dive but Harvey wasn't at first to take the throw. Monroe was credited with a single and an RBI as Pena moved to third.

   Ken Harvey  /   DH
Born: 03/01/78
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 240 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

"My job is to read the pitcher," said Harvey. "But on his first break, it didn't look like he was doing too much and then we both yelled, 'I got it!' and neither of us heard the other one."

Pena scored on Jason Smith's ground single to right.

"The kid pitched real well, they scored three runs," said Tony Pena. "They didn't deserve three runs the way he pitched. They hit the ball hard only twice."

Bautista took it in stride.

"That's a part of the game," he said.

The Royals scored two in the fourth with the help of some shoddy Detroit fielding. Harvey led off with a grounder in the hole at short that Guillen backhanded, but his throw skipped past Pena at first and Harvey went to second on the error. Joe Randa then lined a single to right-center to score Harvey, and when right fielder Bobby Higginson bobbled the ball, Randa went to second. He then scored on Stairs' double into the right-field corner.

Monroe's homer leading off the sixth gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead.

Detroit blew it open in the bottom of the eighth on Omar Infante's bases-clearing double to left center off D.J. Carrasco. The inning had been allowed to continue on Harvey's two-out error, which allowed Smith to reach base.

Berroa homered for the Royals with one out in the ninth.

Paul Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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