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09/21/08 7:30 PM ET

Royals out to usurp fourth from Tigers

Kansas City (70-86) at Detroit (71-83), Monday, 6:05 p.m. CT

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have a 32-43 road record and one week left to improve on that mark. If they do, they could still have a shot at fourth place in the American League Central.

Kansas City will open a three-game set against Detroit on Monday, with the Tigers starting the day two games ahead of the Royals in the division standings.

The Royals have made up significant ground over the Tigers in September and manager Trey Hillman just wants to see that trend continue as Kansas City finishes its season on the road.

"You want to finish strong and we've had a good month up to this point," Hillman said.

After playing three in Detroit, the Royals will finish the season with a three-game set in Minnesota next weekend.

Then the evaluation process for the 2008 season can begin in earnest.

With 70 wins, the Royals have already surpassed last year's victory total. It's going to take more to capture fourth place, however, and the Royals will have to be true road warriors to get it done.

Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Gil Meche (12-11, 4.08 ERA)
For the second straight start, Meche's command was off, but this time he survived nicely. He went seven innings to gain a 5-2 win over the Mariners. He gave up six hits and three walks. Meche also notched seven strikeouts. In his last 10 starts, he has 74 whiffs. His 172 strikeouts is a career high. Meche has faced the Tigers three times this season with a win and two no-decisions. Comerica Park is one of his favorite stops -- he's 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 starts there.

DET: RHP Zach Miner (8-4, 4.16 ERA)
In 7 1/3 innings his last time out, Miner allowed only two runs on five hits and a walk. All five hits were mere singles and he left his bullpen a two-run cushion to give him his ninth victory of the season. It didn't work out. He's now gone three starts since earning his last victory, but his two runs allowed in his outing were a vast improvement to the 13 runs he'd allowed his previous 10 1/3 innings. He'll look to continue on the right track against the Royals on Monday. His last two victories came against Kansas City and he's 3-0 against the Royals in four appearances with a 1.29 ERA.

Bob Stamps, an usher supervisor at Kauffman Stadium since 1979, was in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat for the home finale. Stamps started working for the Royals as an usher at Municipal Stadium and has never missed a Royals Opening Day. ... The Royals finished 38-43 at Kauffman Stadium. It's the highest home-win total since 2003 (40-40). ... Alberto Callaspo extended his hitting streak to 15 games and David DeJesus extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Sunday.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KCSP 610

Up next
• Tuesday: Royals (Zack Greinke, 12-10, 3.59) at Tigers (Freddy Garcia, 1-0, 0.00), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Royals (Brian Bannister, 8-16, 5.96) at Tigers (Nate Robertson, 7-10, 6.15), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Off-day

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.