ED ZURGA / AP Enlarge
KANSAS CITY - Jim Leyland figures an inspirational speech is the last thing his struggling Detroit Tigers need.
More than anything, after getting shut out by Kansas City 5-0 last night, the Tigers could use a strong performance today by Jeremy Bonderman to avoid a three-game sweep in a stadium where they were on a 14-1 tear just two days earlier.
"Now is not the time for a rah-rah speech," Leyland said after seeing his club fall 4 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central.
"This is a big man's game. These guys know what they need to do. When nobody's on, we get a hit. We get somebody on and we can't get a hit. Two days ago we scored 16 runs."
Esteban German hit a go-ahead triple in a five-run first inning against rookie Andrew Miller and the Royals used four pitchers to hand the Tigers just their second shutout of the year.
The 4 1/2-game deficit matches the Tigers' largest of the season.
"I don't worry so much about Cleveland," Leyland said. "We can make up four or five games in a hurry, but not if we're playing the way we're playing, pitching the way we're pitching. We've just got to keep battling."
Miller (5-5) got only two outs in his 13th major league start, allowing five runs, five hits, two walks and two hit batters.
"I'm sure I've had some bad ones [starts]," he said. "I've never had any that are probably this bad and in this important a situation. It hurts.
"I kept putting guys on base and kept giving them more and more opportunities. And you do that, you change the defense and open up holes. And they capitalized," he added in a soft voice.
Zack Greinke pitched four shutout innings in his second strong start since rejoining the rotation on Aug. 24.
Rookie Ryan Braun (2-0) pitched 22/3 innings of two-hit relief for his second win.
Miller began the game by hitting leadoff batter David DeJesus, giving the Royals a team-record 77 hit batters. It was also the 17th time DeJesus has been plunked, leaving him one short of the team's season mark.
After German's RBI triple, the Royals loaded the bases on Mark Grudzielanek's RBI single, another hit batter and Emil Brown's single.
Still with no one out, Alex Gordon hit an RBI single into right field, and Tony Pena Jr. made it 5-0 with a two-run single.
Detroit loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh but David Riske came on and retired Placido Polanco.