KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Andy Dirks and Omar Infante were the five-hit stars for the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
Infante set career highs with five hits and six RBIs, Dirks also went 5 for 5 and the Tigers pounded the Kansas City Royals 16-2.
“I don’t know how many times it happened, two guys with five hits in the same game,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “It’s just one of those games, a freak game.”
Austin Jackson drove in four runs as the Tigers finished with a season-high 26 hits. Dirks, who is hitting .410 against Kansas City this season, scored four times.
“The hits just fell tonight,” Dirks said. “That’s baseball. When I hit it, it just went in the holes.”
The Tigers’ rout came after they were clubbed 20-4 at Boston in their previous game.
“I don’t even remember that game,” Dirks said. “In baseball if you win a game by one run or 20 runs, it only counts as one game.”
But Dirks, who went to Wichita State, won’t forget this one. Dirks’ parents were at the game.
“That was nice,” he said.
Infante had run-scoring singles in the second, fourth and seventh innings and a three-run double in the fifth.
It was more than enough support for Anibal Sanchez (13-7), who allowed one run in seven innings while lowering his AL-best ERA to 2.61.
“Sanchez, in my opinion, shut their offense down and that was the key to the game,” Leyland said.
Sparked by the return of Miguel Cabrera, every Detroit starter had a hit and scored a run in the first five innings. The Tigers sent 10 men to the plate in the second and fourth, scoring five times in each frame.
Cabrera, who did not play in four of the previous five games because of an abdominal strain, went 1 for 2 with an RBI and walked twice before being replaced by Danny Worth in the sixth inning.
“I wanted to get him out an inning earlier, but he wanted one more at-bat,” Leyland said. “So I let hit him again and got him out of there, but we ended up getting a lot of guys out there to give them a little blow. That worked out good.”
Much of Detroit’s onslaught came against James Shields, who was knocked out in the fourth inning in one of the worst starts of his career.
“I actually went back and looked at the video, and a lot of my pitches they were hitting were below the strike zone,” Shields said. “That’s a good hitting team over there, and I didn’t do my job tonight. You’ve got to move forward, but it was a terrible job by me.”
Jackson had a two-run double in the second and a two-run single in the fourth. The four RBIs matched his career high.
Shields (10-9), who was 4-0 in his previous five starts, was charged with 10 runs and 14 hits in 3 2-3 innings in his shortest start of the season. The runs and hits matched career-worst totals for the right-hander.
The last team to collect 14 hits against Shields was the Tigers on June 28, 2012, in 7 2/3 innings.
Billy Butler drove in the first Royals run with a single in the first for his sixth straight hit. David Lough doubled and scored on Jarrod Dyson’s sacrifice fly in the ninth for the other Kansas City run.
“A loss is a loss,” said Alex Gordon, who doubled in the first. “That’s the way you’ve got to look at it. Turn the page.”
NOTES: Royals C Salvador Perez was cleared to play after experiencing dizziness Thursday and leaving in the fifth inning after taking a foul tip off the mask. Perez, who was on the concussion list in August, switched to a new mask. “We’re going to scoot him up under the hitters a little closer, see if maybe he can dodge some foul balls that way,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. … SS Jose Iglesias was held out of the Tigers lineup after leaving in the fifth Wednesday with shin splints. … Yost said 2B Chris Getz has not been cleared to return after suffering a possible concussion Tuesday. … RHP Justin Verlander, who starts Saturday, is 0-2 with a 2.60 ERA in four 2012 starts against the Royals.