Royals rake past Tigers in finale
Davies solid on mound; Guillen, Kendall lead 17-hit outburst
DETROIT -- Different bullpen, same old Jose Guillen.
That added up to a bounce-back 7-3 victory for the Royals over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park. The Royals won their first series of the season, two games to one.
Guillen kept doing his thing. Among his three hits was his fifth home run in the past four games, a solo smash in the decisive seventh inning. It also was the 200th homer of his career.
"It's good to win, it brings a lot of smiles in the clubhouse," Guillen said.
And the bullpen, with a different cast from the relievers that blew Tuesday's game, finished up admirably for winning starter Kyle Davies.
"That was very resilient. Scrappy, resilient," manager Trey Hillman said. "You can probably come up with a lot better words than I can. But whatever words you come up with, I'll take 'em, because it was good to see."
The Royals had 17 hits -- including Jason Kendall's 4-for-5 game, which gave him hits in all nine games so far, and Guillen's three, which extended his streak to five games. All together in the series, they amassed 45 hits for a .372 average.
"The bottom line is it's a good win today," Kendall said. "We had a tough loss yesterday and we bounced back good."
Left-hander John Parrish and closer Joakim Soria combined to shut down the Tigers after Davies went 6 2/3 innings and left with a 5-3 lead.
Parrish walked two batters, the first baserunners against him this season, but his one inning marked his sixth straight shutout performance. Soria got the final four outs, but he had an atypical beginning, walking Scott Sizemore on four straight pitches.
"I was taking too long to step off the mound and my ball was down a lot," Soria said. "I made an adjustment and I threw strikes again after that."
Sure did. He struck out pinch-hitter Don Kelly on three pitches to end the eighth inning. He disposed of three straight batters in the ninth for his second save.
In Hillman's view, Davies got the pivotal outs during the Tigers' two-run fifth. Although he walked Magglio Ordonez to load the bases with no outs, he induced Miguel Cabrera to rap into a double play.
"With Cabrera coming up, I knew he was going to try to do a little bit too much with the bases loaded early in the game, and I thought he was a better candidate to maybe get a double play with," Davies said. "The bottom line is the only thing I tried to do was get him to hit the ball on the ground. If it found a hole, it found a hole."
What the grounder found was the glove of shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who started a double play. A run scored, but the danger was defused and Davies got Carlos Guillen to sky into the third out.
"The wheels could've come off very easily there," Hillman said.
The Royals broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the seventh after reliever Ryan Perry took over for starter Rick Porcello.
David DeJesus led off with a walk and moved to third on a sacrifice and a wild pitch. Billy Butler flied out to right and Ordonez's throw easily beat DeJesus to the plate. But catcher Gerald Laird never had control of the ball and it slipped away as DeJesus slid into him.
"Somehow I was able to get in there. I don't understand how I was safe," DeJesus said. "But I think I was able to knock the ball out. I don't know, I jammed my finger into the glove or something and got 'er done."
Laird, though, took all the blame for not hanging onto Ordonez's throw.
"I got it in the web, but it was high in the web, and then when I tried to put it in my hand, I didn't really get the grip as I was trying to exchange. He wasn't really as close as I thought he would be. That's the problem," Laird said. "Magglio made a good throw and I couldn't finish it. Basically, it's all on me. I just didn't hold onto the ball."
No, and a surprised DeJesus saw the ball bounding away from the plate.
"It was nice," DeJesus said. "A beautiful thing."
Then Guillen promptly pounded a 0-2 pitch from Perry into the left-field seats.
Guillen's streak of homers in four consecutive games began on Sunday against Boston with two blasts four RBIs. Then he hit one homer in each of the three games at Detroit, good for a total of four RBIs.
"This is a pretty good lineup over there when Guillen and those guys are swinging good," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
And in this series, the Royals were swinging good.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.