Royals-Tigers: Kansas City "Drops" Series to Detroit

Sean KellermanCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2008

Two hours and 20 minutes of rain in the bottom of the seventh inning didn't necessarily boost the offense of the hometown Royals, as they dropped their second straight to the Tigers, 7-1.

Detroit, 51-49, improved to 2-6 this year against the Royals, and they now sit just five-and-a-half games back of the first place Chicago White Sox in the American League's Central Division.

The Tigers were led by 43-year-old starting pitcher Kenny Rogers, who pitched six strong innings, and even came out for the seventh inning before the heavy rain caused the long delay.

Fireballers Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya came in following the delay to close the door for Detroit, pitching the final three innings unscathed.

The Royals, 45-56, lost a series to Detroit for the first time all year, as their starting pitching continues to struggle during the second half.

Right-hander Kyle Davies gave up just two runs, but his inability to go more than four innings due to an elevated pitch count caused the ball to be handed to the bullpen much too early.

In five games since the Midsummer Classic, the Royals' five starters have thrown a total of 21.1 innings, while the bullpen has thrown 23.2.

On a night when the Royals' Hall of Fame second baseman Frank White was honored by his T-shirt being the subject of a T-shirt Tuesday at the K, two other Gold Glove Award-winning second basemen provided for the bulk of their teams' offenses.

The Royals' Mark Grudzielanek, the 2006 AL Gold Glove winner at second, continued his absolute dominance of the lefty Rogers, going three-for-three against him with a double and the Royals' lone run driven in on the night before striking out in the eighth inning against Rodney.

With those three hits, Grudzielanek improved to a ridiculous 15-for-23 career against Rogers, good for a .652 average.

On the other side of the diamond, the Tigers' Placido Polanco, the 2007 Gold Glove honoree at second for the AL, also had a great night at the dish, going two-for-five with his fourth home run of the season, while scoring three runs and driving in two.

With their performances, Grudzielanek and Polanco each remain in the top 10 in the American League in batting average, batting at .310 and .308, respectively.

The Royals look to avoid the sweep by the Motown boys in a day game on Wednesday at Kauffman stadium. They will hope for a deep-inning start from 24-year-old phenom Zack Greinke, while the Tigers will counter with rookie Armando Galaragga, who has easily been their most consistent starter all year.