Tigers try to regroup, open series with Royals

The Detroit Tigers try to bounce back from an embarrassing loss on Friday, when they begin a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Detroit has lost three of four and dropped two of three in Boston, culminating with a ridiculous 20-4 setback in Wednesday's finale that saw Tigers' pitching allow eight home runs.

"It was pretty ugly. ... They were hitting it around like ping pong balls," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Even despite this recent stretch Detroit still sits comfortably atop the American League Central, 6 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland and eight in front of Kansas City.

Now the Tigers turn to righty Anibal Sanchez, who has won his last five decisions and leads the American League with a 2.68 ERA. Sanchez improved to 12-7 on Saturday against Cleveland, as he allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Sanchez is 2-2 in four starts versus the Royals and has surrendered just three runs in 29 1/3 innings against them.

The Royals, meanwhile, will turn to veteran right-hander James Shields, who is 10-8 with a 3.03 ERA. Shields won his fourth consecutive decision on Sunday in Toronto, as he scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings. He also struck out nine and walked a batter in the win.

"I started throwing my changeup early, and this team knows me pretty well, obviously," said Shields, who recorded his 23rd quality start in 29 outings this season.. "They knew it was coming, and I made a little adjustment at the end of the game and started throwing fastballs later in counts, and tried to get through seven."

Kansas City comes into this series on a high note following a dramatic win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, as Mike Moustakas' solo homer in the bottom of the 13th inning lifted the Royals to a 7-6 victory.

Alex Gordon added a two-run homer for the Royals, who rallied from a five-run deficit to win for the ninth time in 12 games. Billy Butler went 5-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored and Emilio Bonifacio went 4-for-6 with two runs.

"It's not easy to come back from a five-run deficit," Butler said. "That shows the resiliency of this team."

Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed five runs on seven hits over six innings. Louis Coleman (3-0) recorded the final out in the top of the 13th to pick up the win.

The Royals hold a 7-6 edge on the Tigers this season.