Royals improve to 6-0 vs. Tigers this season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Neither the Detroit Tigers nor the Kansas City Royals saw this sweep coming.

Jose Guillen homered and drove in three runs, Gil Meche pitched seven solid innings and the Royals beat Detroit 8-4 on Thursday to complete another three-game sweep of the Tigers.

Kansas City won its season-best fourth straight and improved to 6-0 this season against the skidding Tigers, who have lost four in a row and 10 of 12 while falling into last place in the AL Central.

"That's a question I ask, 'How we can sweep this team twice with the type of offense that they have?'" Guillen said. "That's baseball. You see some stuff you're never going to believe, but we did it."

The Royals began the year with three wins at Detroit, which opened 0-7 despite a $139 million payroll. Now, the Tigers (16-25) are struggling again.

"I think the confidence level has a lot to do with it," Royals manager Trey Hillman said about the latest sweep. "I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we went into their place to open the season and nobody was expecting us to do much of anything, except maybe score one win out of maybe the three wins. We swept that series. I don't deny I think there is some confidence that rubs off that to this series."

The Tigers have scored only 11 runs in the six losses to Kansas City.

"We're not stringing good at-bats together," manager Jim Leyland said. "Today's game, we had some good at-bats and we threw some at-bats away. I'm very surprised and disappointed in the results so far, but I'm not disappointed in the effort."

Billy Butler's two-run double keyed a three-run first against Tigers left-hander Kenny Rogers (3-4). Miguel Olivo doubled home Butler with the final run of the inning.

The Royals added two more in the second on an RBI single by Joey Gathright and Guillen's bases-loaded walk after falling behind in the count 0-2.

Guillen homered leading off the fourth against Rogers to extend his hitting streak to a season-high seven games. Olivo later doubled and scored on Mark Teahen's single.

Guillen's eighth-inning single drove in Esteban German.

Meche (3-5) yielded three runs and six hits while striking out six and walking two. He improved to 7-4 in 16 career starts against the Tigers and won for the first time this season in five home starts.

"I noticed Kenny Rogers' numbers, too, and he hasn't pitched really well, either," Meche said. "When guys are struggling and you get to them early, it just makes you break down. It's happened to me a couple of times this year. And we got some early. The next thing he's kind of nitpicking around the zone, walked some guys and we're getting good pitches to hit and we did.

"With the early run support, I know if I give up a run, I still have a five- or six-run lead. It changes everything. It was a good day to go with my fastball. If we're in a tighter game, my mind-set might have been different. We turned this homestand around, which is great. We're playing really good against Detroit," he said.

Rogers, who was 3-0 in five starts since an April 13 loss, lasted just four innings while allowing seven runs and 11 hits. Every Royals starter had at least one hit off Rogers.

"It goes to show you, you put the ball in play and good things will happen," Rogers said. "They did that and it doesn't matter if they were hard-hit or not. Frustrating as it is as I look back, the results are all that mattered. I walked the first guy of the game and that's just terrible, no doubt. Walking Gathright after having him 0-2, you can't do that, but that's the three-run inning."

Rookie Matt Joyce drove in two of the Tigers' runs. He homered leading off the seventh and hit a sacrifice fly in the second. Ramon Santiago doubled in the fifth and scored on Curtis Granderson's two-out single for Detroit's other run off Meche.

Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen hit consecutive doubles in the eighth off reliever Joel Peralta for the final Tigers run.

"Jim's club has not reached their offensive stride, not even close. Their starters haven't been as consistent as their history shows they should be," Hillman said. "They're really a dangerous club. We're fortunate. I don't think we're lucky. We had some lucky hits today, but beating them six times in a row, that's an achievement that we can build on. I don't think there is anybody in our clubhouse that feels like we can throw our gloves out and beat the Detroit Tigers. We've got a lot of respect for them."

Game notes
Meche was 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in his first four home starts. ... Ordonez's double was the 1,700th hit of his career. ... Joyce has the last three Tigers homers in the past eight games.