Tigers 12, Royals 3

The Detroit Tigers probably played themselves out of the pennant
race in July and early August.

In the last four days, though, they’ve looked like the team that
led the AL Central before the All-Star break.

Monday, Ryan Raburn had three RBIs and scored twice as the
Tigers routed the Kansas City Royals 12-3. Jhonny Peralta and
Brandon Inge also drove in three runs for Detroit, which is 4-0
since returning home and have outscored its opponents 31-6.

Detroit scored 12 times without a triple or a home run.

”Normally, when you get that many, you are going to have a
two-run homer or a three-run homer or something in the mix,”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ”Tonight, it was just good
at-bats and a lot of base hits. Everyone took a good approach
throughout the lineup, and that’s good to see.”

Four of Detroit’s runs came immediately after the three
intentional walks ordered by Royals manager Ned Yost in the fifth
and sixth innings.

With the Tigers leading 3-2 in the fifth and a runner on third,
Yost intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera, only to see Raburn hit a
RBI double. Peralta was then put on, loading the bases, but Inge
followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2.

Johnny Damon’s RBI single made it a four-run game in the next
inning, and Yost immediately walked Cabrera again, loading the
bases. This time, Raburn hit a two-run single to set off a
seven-run inning that gave Detroit a 12-2 advantage.

”Give Ryan Raburn credit, because he did exactly what he is
supposed to do in those situations,” Yost said. ”If you look
across the major leagues, there are only about two hitters in
Cabrera’s class, and I’m not going to let him beat us, but Raburn
picked up the slack.”

The success continued a trend for the Tigers. In their last two
games, their hitters have been issued five intentional walks –
three to Cabrera. The next five hitters have combined to go 4-for-4
with a sacrifice fly and 8 RBIs.

”Our guys haven’t been trying to do too much in those
situations,” Leyland said. ”They’ve taken what is there and come
up with big hits.”

Gregor Blanco provided the game’s final run with a ninth-inning
sacrifice fly.

Jeremy Bonderman (7-9) got the win, ending a three-start losing
streak by allowing two runs on eight hits in six innings.

”I didn’t try to do anything different,” he said. ”My ball
was really flat in the first couple innings, but I was able to make
an adjustment and the guys made some big plays behind me.”

Bruce Chen (8-7) lasted just 4 1-3 innings for Kansas City,
allowing five runs on five hits and five walks.

”I didn’t pitch very well, and it cost us the game,” he said.
”I nibbled too much instead of attacking the strike zone.”

Kansas City took advantage of Bonderman’s customary first-inning
struggles to go ahead on Billy Butler’s RBI single, but a running
catch by centerfielder Austin Jackson helped limit the damage to
one run.

”We let him off the hook in that inning – we absolutely did,”
said Mitch Maier. ”When you get things going early in the game,
you need to take advantage. That was our best shot.”

Detroit then took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning on
Cabrera’s RBI single and a bases-loaded walk of Peralta.

The Tigers expanded the lead to 3-1 on Peralta’s RBI double in
the fourth, but Kansas City got a run back in the fifth when Blanco
doubled and scored on a pair of groundouts.

NOTES: Damon confirmed before the game that he had been claimed
on waivers by the Boston Red Sox. Because of his no-trade clause,
Damon has until Wednesday to decide if he wants to accept a return
to Boston – a decision he called one of the hardest of his career.
After the game, he said he was leaning toward staying with Detroit,
but wanted to talk to team president Dave Dombrowski before making
any decisions. … Inge picked up the 999th hit of his career with
a two-run double in the sixth inning. … Before the game, the
Tigers designated the contract of reliever Enrique Gonzalez and
recalled outfielder Casper Wells from Triple-A Toledo. Wells
started in right field and went 0-for-2. … Jai Miller picked up
his first major-league hit in the ninth inning, over two years
after his first big-league game. He played one game for the Marlins
in 2008, and didn’t get back to the majors until last week.