Trio of three-run taters leads KC to rout

Trio of three-run taters leads KC to rout

DETROIT -- Say, wait a minute. Maybe having the Detroit Tigers for the 2010 Opening Day opponent is a good idea for the Royals after all.

The Tigers have become tame tabbies for the Royals.

Alberto Callaspo, David DeJesus and Miguel Olivo each belted a three-run homer as the Royals stomped the Tigers, 11-1, in front of 20,442 fans on Tuesday night at Comerica Park. It was Kansas City's seventh victory in the past eight games -- and four of them have come over the guys wearing the old English "D."

Royals right-hander Robinson Tejeda went five innings for his second consecutive win over the Tigers and got four scoreless innings of backing from the bullpen.

"Right now, we're just going out there expecting to win and having fun," DeJesus said. "We're getting good pitching and getting timely hits when we need them. A good combination."

And, in this long season, so rare. Who are these guys anyway?

"Three three-run homers, yeah, that's uncharacteristic of us, but we'll take it any way we can get it," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.

The Tigers have lost six of their past eight games but still hold a 4 1/2-game lead in the American League Central. But on Tuesday night, they fell behind quickly in the first inning when left-hander Jarrod Washburn gave up a four-spot. Callaspo mashed a three-run homer, his 10th, and that was the lone inning for Washburn.

"We're just trying to do our jobs and trying to finish strong," said Callaspo, who got a fourth RBI on a sacrifice fly.

Callaspo didn't notice anything particular about Washburn, who has struggled with a sore left knee this season, but Hillman did.

"Obviously Jarrod wasn't feeling real good," he said. "It was good to see us jump on him in the first inning and take advantage of him not being able to locate very well."

The Royals got another three-run blast from DeJesus in the fourth against reliever Casey Fien. Not only was it DeJesus' 13th home run, the most in his career, it gave him a 15-game hitting streak -- a breakthrough for a guy who struggled mightily when the season began.

"It shows you how long this year is when you can go from how bad I was to where I'm feeling better at the plate," DeJesus said.

Olivo unloaded his three-run homer in the seventh, a drive into the left-field seats that was his 20th blast this year. It came off former starter Jeremy Bonderman, injured most of the season, and marked the first trip to the 20 mark for Olivo.

"That's good that it happened to me, but right now, I'm just happy that we won the game and scored some runs," Olivo said. "It's fun for the team."

Meantime, Tejeda weaved more magic and extended his scoreless streak of innings to 23. That finally ended, though, in the fifth, when he got two outs and then issued two walks. Carlos Guillen lined an RBI single to right before third baseman Alex Gordon's error loaded the bases, but Tejeda struck out Miguel Cabrera to maintain an 8-1 lead.

"With Cabrera, I think you're only going to have to have two things to deal with," Tejeda said. "He's either going to kill you with homers or something or he's going to strike out."

By then, however, Tejeda had thrown 102 pitches (63 strikes) and was relieved by rookie left-hander Dusty Hughes to start the sixth. Tejeda gave up two hits but walked four to go along with five strikeouts. That gave him 30 strikeouts in his past 24 innings.

A blister on Tejeda's right forefinger contributed to his control problems. It popped up in his previous start at Kansas City, also a win over the Tigers, and began bothering him again in the third inning.

"I had a little blister that was bothering me when I was throwing my breaking pitch, and I just had to go with almost all fastballs," Tejeda said.

He doubted that the blister would keep him from his next start.

"He had good stuff," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "I don't know if he threw as well as he did [in Kansas City], but he had good stuff."

Hughes and Victor Marte, a pair of rookies, finished up for Tejeda with two scoreless innings each.

There was a scary moment for the Royals in the sixth inning when DeJesus, chasing Alex Avila's foul ball, took a flip into the stands. It was nasty-looking, but DeJesus merely scrambled out and went back to his position with a smile.

"I thought I had a shot," DeJesus said. "I'm glad I jumped because all I did was scrape my elbow on the seat. That's all that happened."

He was taken out of the game in the next inning but was OK.

This was the Royals' fifth consecutive win over the Tigers and evened the season series at 8 with two games left.

"Right now, they are not at as full strength as typically Jim [Leyland] would like it," Hillman said. "But they are playing for something. Just like nobody feels sorry for us being in last place, we've got to play as hard as we can, too."

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