KC's bats largely waterlogged in loss
Detroit takes series on third try; Aviles' streak reaches 12
KANSAS CITY -- Kenny Rogers is now a 21-game winner -- against the Royals in his career, that is.
Rogers pitched the Detroit Tigers to a 7-1 victory over the Royals as 22,074 fans attended a rain-interrupted game on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. He worked six innings and threw one pitch in the seventh before rain caused a two-hour and 20-minute delay.
That ended his outing -- he allowed just four hits -- and the Tigers' bullpen finished the job.
So Rogers has now beaten the Royals 21 times.
"That's pretty good -- that's either real good or he's been around a long time," mused the Royals' Ross Gload.
Both, actually. This is Rogers' 20th year and he's won 218 games, tying for 18th-most victories among left-handed pitchers. With Tuesday's decision, he passed Tigers legend Mickey Lolich.
Although Rogers is 21-18 against Kansas City in his career, he'd been on a recent skid against them. The victory snapped his personal five-game losing streak against the Royals.
"He's a good veteran pitcher, he knows how to pitch and he did exactly what he's capable of doing and known for doing -- holding down a club," Royals rookie Mike Aviles said.
The Royals scored in the first on Aviles' double -- his hitting streak reached 12 games (22-for-52, .423 average in that span) -- and Mark Grudzielanek's single.
Grudzielanek was the major pest for Rogers with the other three hits against him. That made him 15-for-23 -- a whopping .652 average -- against the Tigers' left-hander in his career.
Rogers plans to employ a new weapon against Grudzielanek the next time he faces him -- a knuckleball. Yeah, right, Kenny.
"I'm not joking -- I'm throwing him one because he's hit everything else," Rogers said.
Royals starter Kyle Davies was pulled after just four innings, trailing, 2-1. The problem was he used up a whopping 96 pitches in doing so.
"The No. 1 thing as a pitcher is not velocity, it's not stuff, it's location of pitches," Davies said. "If you can't locate, they're going to take balls and swing at strikes, and that's what happened."
The Tigers got a run in the first on Carlos Guillen's double and Magglio Ordonez's single. In the third Placido Polanco pounded a solo home run to left field. That was it against Davies -- not exactly a bloodletting -- but he was through.
"They took a lot of balls and I didn't give up 100, or five, six, seven runs, but I threw 96 pitches in four innings," he said.
The Tigers bumped their lead to 5-1 with three runs in the fifth against reliever Joel Peralta. They loaded the bases on Curtis Granderson's single, Polanco's double and Guillen's walk. The runs scored on Miguel Cabrera's single, Matt Joyce's walk and Gary Sheffield's sacrifice fly.
Rain interrupted the game at 9:38 p.m. CT as the Royals came to bat in the seventh. It resumed at 11:48 p.m. with only a few hundred hardy fans remaining in the stands.
The Tigers added two unearned runs, courtesy of a throwing error by first baseman Gload, in the ninth against Robinson Tejeda.
Fernando Rodney, who replaced Rogers, pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Joel Zumaya worked the ninth and, after Esteban German tripled for his second hit, he got the last out at 12:37 a.m. CT.
German, by the way, is hitting .438 (14-for-32) in his last 13 games. He started this game at third base in place of slumping Alex Gordon.
The win was the Tigers' second here after they'd lost the first six games between the two clubs this season. In the opener they won, 19-4, so, in the two games combined, it's been Tigers 26, Royals 5.
"These guys got it clicking," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Eight of their nine hitters came in here hot. So we've got to pitch."
The chance comes up quickly for Wednesday afternoon's starter, Zack Greinke, less than 13 hours after the last pitch in this one.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.