Butler blasts Royals past Tigers
KC hitters break out against Rogers, Detroit bullpen
DETROIT -- Trite but true: The Butler did it.
Billy Butler socked two homers and knocked in four runs as the Royals overpowered the Detroit Tigers, 13-3, on Saturday night in front of 40,623 fans at Comerica Park.
The Royals smashed three home runs in building a 6-2 lead over left-hander Kenny Rogers.
This was the Royals' first multi-homer game since Jose Guillen and Mike Aviles teed off on Aug. 3 in a 14-3 win over the White Sox. They last banged three homers on Aug. 2, when Butler, Guillen and Miguel Olivo connected in a 9-7 win over the Sox.
"That's big," Butler said. "We can put up power numbers as good as anybody else. We've just got to stay in the zone and work for good pitches."
Putting up power numbers, though, has not been the Royals' forte recently.
Since that cluster of five homers in two games, the Royals had been outhomered, 29-6, losing 18 of 22 games. Until this outburst.
"That was nice," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "We said before the game we hoped these guys felt comfortable with it being Kenny Rogers and having had some success against him."
Guess so. Although Rogers has won 21 games against the Royals in his career, he's just 1-4 against them this season.
Butler cleared the left-field wall in the second inning against Rogers, and Mark Teahen did likewise in the fifth. For Teahen, it was his second homer in two nights after a long drought.
Butler blasted a three-run shot to cap off a four-run sixth inning. It was the first multi-homer game of Butler's career. David DeJesus had an RBI single in the inning, and all four runs scored after two outs.
Then came seven more runs in the final three innings.
"We were talking in the dugout, 'Maybe we should save some of the runs,'" Teahen said. "But we'll take 'em. We finally got some clutch hits and put something together. We looked up in the sixth inning and had zero guys left on base which is just kind of the polar opposite of what we've been doing."
Meantime, the Tigers had a triples attack going against Royals starter Brandon Duckworth. Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco and Matt Joyce each led off an inning with triple, and each scored on a groundout.
How odd is that?
"I don't believe I've ever seen that," Hillman said.
Duckworth, getting his second win in two starts against the Tigers since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha, pitched six innings. Just the three triple-instigated runs marred his outing.
"Once they get something going, especially with that team, the power that they have, the quality hitters that they have, if you can just give up a one-spot in an inning, that's the biggest key," Duckworth said.
Duckworth was an artful dodger.
"He did a real good job of damage control and not allowing it to carry over into big innings," Hillman said.
The Royals amassed 17 hits with Butler and Ross Gload getting three each. Aviles and Teahen each had two RBIs.
And Guillen had a sore right ankle, jammed as he went awkwardly into second base after an eighth-inning double. On a hunch, head athletic trainer Nick Swartz had wrapped both of Guillen's ankles before the game.
"I never taped my ankles," Guillen said. "Nick taped my left one because it was sore and taped the right one, too."
As a result, the right ankle held up and Guillen just rolled it. Hillman expects him to play on Sunday.
"I could've broken that ankle. Somebody up there is looking out for me today," Guillen said.
With the Tigers well behind in the ninth, Polanco hit a homer-length drive off closer Joakim Soria that was called foul by third-base umpire Tom Hallion. Tigers manager Jim Leyland wondered if maybe it was fair as it hooked past the pole.
Would this occasion the Majors' first use of instant replay?
No. Hallion consulted with plate umpire Kevin Causey, who agreed it was foul. There would be no replay.
"As a manager, you accept that. I thought he was fair in saying he would check, they said foul ball, and there's nothing I can do about it," Leyland said.
Hillman, watching from the dugout, thought the ball was clearly foul.
Teahen, watching from right field, was hoping there would be a replay.
"If they were going to have it, I was hoping to be on the field the first time they've used it. But it was pretty clearly foul," Teahen said. "But it's history, you know."
Well, not this time.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.