Royals Prepare For Tough Tigers

Coming off their first series win in more than a month, there are few places the Detroit Tigers would rather be than Kauffman Stadium.

The Tigers look to continue their dominance over the Royals at Kansas City on Tuesday night when the division rivals open a three-game series.

After winning two of three games against the New York Yankees over the weekend, the Tigers rolled to a 16-0 rout in Monday's series finale.

Justin Verlander allowed three hits in seven innings, and Placido Polanco had three of his team's 20 hits, including a home run, as the Tigers won their first series since sweeping Minnesota from July 17-19.

Detroit (71-60), though, remained 2 1/2 games behind Al Central-leading Cleveland, which beat the Twins 8-3.

"We're playing with a sense of urgency right now because our fate is in our own hands," Verlander said. "We need to just go out and have fun and play like we did for most of the first half of the season."

Brandon Inge had three hits and four RBIs while Ryan Raburn added three RBIs and three runs scored.

"If you don't get any confidence from taking three out of four against the Yankees, you probably don't have a pulse," Inge said.

The Tigers certainly don't lack any confidence when they play the Royals.

They have won eight of 12 games in the series this year, including five of six at Kauffman Stadium. They are 14-1 at Kansas City since the start of the 2006 season, averaging 8.1 runs while batting .317 in those games.

Detroit's Curtis Granderson had an outstanding series against New York, batting .444 (8-for-18) with one homer, six RBIs, six runs scored and three steals. He has enjoyed similar success against the Royals this season, hitting .381 (16-for-42) with two homers and five RBIs.

The Royals are coming off a 5-3, 11-inning loss Sunday to Cleveland, their fifth defeat in seven games.

Kansas City (57-72) was one strike away from taking the series before Grady Sizemore doubled and scored the tying run on Asdrubal Cabrera's single in the ninth inning.

Nate Robertson (7-10, 4.80 ERA) looks to end a personal three-start losing streak for Detroit. The left-hander is 2-7 with a 5.66 ERA in nine road starts, including 0-3 with an 8.15 ERA in his last three.

Robertson, however, had one of the best starts of his career in his most recent appearance, giving up four hits and no walks in 8 2-3 scoreless innings Thursday at home against Cleveland. He did not receive a decision with the Tigers losing 3-1 in 10 innings.

Robertson wasn't sharp in his only start this season against the Royals, yielding five runs and 11 hits in six innings of a 5-2 loss on July 22. He is 4-4 with a 4.75 ERA in nine career starts against the Royals.

Brian Bannister (10-7, 3.28) tries to win his third straight start for Kansas City. The impressive rookie is 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last seven starts, and ranks seventh in the AL in overall ERA. He limited the Chicago White Sox to two runs and five hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 7-6 road victory Thursday, becoming the first Royals rookie to win 10 game since Rusty Meacham in 1992.

Bannister was matched up against Robertson and the Tigers on July 22, and pitched seven strong innings in a 5-2 victory. He is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts against Detroit.


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