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Published: Sunday, 9/23/2007

Grudzielanek leads Royals past Tigers

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Royals  Emil Brown makes a catch of a Brandon Inge fly
ball in the fourth inning. Royals Emil Brown makes a catch of a Brandon Inge fly ball in the fourth inning.
DUANE BURLESON / AP Enlarge

DETROIT - Mark Grudzielanek again got the best of Kenny Rogers, collecting four hits and scoring three times as the Kansas City Royals moved the Detroit Tigers to the verge of elimination with a 7-4 victory last night.

The loss dropped the Tigers 5 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card race with seven games left.

Grudzielanek was hitting .647 in his career against Rogers and .355 against Detroit this year, and this time provided plenty of support for starter Kyle Davies.

"It's sad that we're probably not going to the postseason, but that's the way it goes. The Cardinals and us were in the World Series last year, and it looks like neither of us is going to make it this year. That happens," said Tiger skipper Jim Leyland.

Rogers (3-3) extended his winless streak to seven starts, allowing five runs - three earned - and eight hits.

Esteban German and Grudzielanek led off the game with singles, putting runners on the corners. After Billy Butler popped out, Mike Sweeney grounded to third, but Brandon Inge threw wildly to second, allowing German to score.

Mark Teahen moved the runners up with a groundout, and Emil Brown ended a 2-for-22 slump against Rogers with a two-run single.

Curtis Granderson led off the bottom of the inning with a homer, but Rogers continued to struggle in the second.

After striking out the first two batters, he walked German and Grudzielanek hit an RBI double - his eighth hit in his last nine at-bats against Rogers.

Butler walked and Sweeney made it 5-1 with a single.

The Tigers got to 5-3 on Timo Perez's two-run double in the fourth, but he was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a triple.

Detroit had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, but reliever John Bale struck out Inge on a 13-pitch at-bat and got Granderson to ground out.

The Royals made it 6-3 in the seventh when Teahen hit into a bases-loaded double play, and Grudzielanek added a run with an RBI double in the eighth.



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