08/29/08 11:55 PM ET
First loss for Royals in Detroit
Big inning dooms Kansas City in series opener
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The last time the Royals visited, to open the season, they swept the Tigers in three games. But this time the Tigers smacked the Royals with the welcome mat, 6-3, on Friday night at Comerica Park.
In fact, Kansas City won the first six games between the clubs this season. But now Detroit has won six of the last seven.
"I haven't been counting, but we need to get back on the other side of it, that's for sure," the Royals' Mark Teahen said.
Teahen had gone forever, or at least since July 10, without a home run. But after 133 homerless at-bats, he connected in the second inning against Zach Miner.
The leadoff homer was Teahen's 11th this season.
"It'd been so long since I hit one of those, so it felt good, but unfortunately we couldn't keep putting them on the board," Teahen added.
Not against Miner, who beat the Royals for the third time without a loss this season. He gave up just one run in six innings and has a 1.29 ERA against them.
"He's a guy that you don't fear facing, but with the numbers he's put up against us this year, I guess you should," Teahen said. "But he's not a guy who gets in your face."
Most of the merriment for the 40,206 fans came in the fifth inning. The Tigers scored six runs, but a throwing error by shortstop Mike Aviles that opened the inning made only two of them earned.
But Detroit followed by accumulating six hits against Kansas City starter Kyle Davies. That included a two-run triple by Curtis Granderson and a two-run single by Jeff Larish.
"I pitched my guts out in the fifth," Davies said.
Yet the ball seemed to find holes everywhere.
"A broken-bat [hit] falls in, a jam-job falls in, two seeing-eyes to the right side," Davies said. "The Granderson one was hit good."
Aviles' error was the fifth for the Royals in the last three games.
"We have to have the ability to stop the bleeding when the defense makes a mistake, but unfortunately we didn't," Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said. "We've done a better job on popups. Now we have to do a better job of throwing the ball across the infield."
Speaking of popups, catcher John Buck made a wild-and-crazy catch of Marcus Thames' sky-high mortar in the third inning. Buck thought he was going to catch it behind the plate.
"Right at the end there, it really came back. It was one of the higher ones I've caught," Buck said.
"It's not how you want to show kids how to do that," Buck said. "But it got caught."
There was one casualty for the Tigers. First baseman Miguel Cabrera suffered a mild left pectoral strain while reaching for a poor throw in the second inning. He left the game after the fifth.
Kansas City picked up two runs against the Detroit bullpen. Joey Gathright's double and Aviles' single produced a seventh-inning run. And, in the ninth, Buck walked and scored on a groundout. But the Royals left nine runners on base.
"We had plenty of opportunities to score runs early, and we just kind of let them hang around and they made it hurt in the fifth," Teahen said.
The Tigers snapped a four-game skid. For the Royals, this was the 18th loss in their last 21 games.
Things have changed since the Royals stunned the baseball world by sweeping what was ballyhooed as a super-charged Tigers team that would walk away with the division.
"It was a good part of the season," Teahen said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.