Thursday, April 3, 2008

How Sweep It Is! KC Cleans Up in Detroit

When the Detroit Tigers signed Miguel Cabrera to come to the Motor City during the offseason, I'd imagine there were some Tigers fans who glanced at the 2008 schedule and made a mental note to remember to bring a broom to today's game against the Kansas City Royals.

Well, brooms were needed today, but they were in the hands of Royals fans, as Kansas City completed an improbable three-game sweep of the mighty Tigers with a 4-1 victory at Comerica Park.

It marks just the fourth time in franchise history (1972, 1977, 1979, 2003) that the Royals have been 3-0 to start a season, and it is the first season-opening road sweep since Kansas City swept the Tigers in Detroit to kick off the 1977 campaign.

Pitching was once again the key for the Royals. One day after Brian Bannister's dominating effort against Detroit, right-hander Zack Greinke (1-0) turned in another outstanding pitching performance by going seven innings and allowing just six hits and one earned run, while striking out three and walking two. The Tigers' lone run came on a solo home run by third baseman Brandon Inge in the seventh inning.

Offensively, Kansas City received a two-run home run to left center by third baseman Alex Gordon in the fourth inning, and a solo home run to right by left fielder Mark Teahen. Right fielder Jose Guillen drove in the Royals' other run with a single to left in the seventh to score center fielder Joey Gathright. Gordon, Teahen, Mark Grudzielanek, and Ross Gload all finished with two hits.

For the series, Gordon had three hits, but two of them were two-run home runs that played big roles in the Royals' first and third wins against the Tigers. Grudzielanek also had a great series, going 6-for-12 with four runs scored. Facing one of the top lineups in all of baseball, Royals pitchers combined for a 1.55 ERA with 24 strikeouts and just nine walks in 29 innings pitched.

Ramon Ramirez pitched the eighth for the Royals, allowing two hits, but striking out two batters -- 2007 American League batting champion Magglio Ordonez with one out, and Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez with a runner on third base to end the frame. Royals closer Joakim Soria recorded his second save of the season by working a hitless ninth inning.

Kansas City now travels to Minnesota for the three-game series against the Twins this weekend. Lefty John Bale will make his first start of the season for the Royals, and will face Twins right-hander Scott Baker (0-0). First pitch at the Metrodome is set for Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT.

Alex Gordon Photo Credit: Duane Burleson/AP

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