Beltran traded to Houston after loss

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Ivan Rodriguez makes it seem easy.

Rodriguez had a single, three doubles and four RBI Thursday to
help the Detroit Tigers stop a five-game losing skid with a 12-3
victory over the Kansas City Royals.

"I just concentrate to put the ball in play and hit the ball
hard, try to make good contact," said Rodriguez, who raised his
league-leading average to .373.

After the game, Kansas City traded star center fielder Carlos Beltran to the Houston Astros as part of a three-way deal that also
sent reliever Octavio Dotel to Oakland.

The Royals wound up with three prospects: highly touted third
baseman Mark Teahen and right-hander Mike Wood from Oakland, and
catcher John Buck from the Astros.

Beltran can become a free agent after the season and almost
certainly would have been too expensive for the Royals to re-sign.

"I feel pretty good about this. Obviously, it's bittersweet,"
Kansas City general manager Allard Baird said.

"It was obvious we were not going to be able to sign Carlos.
But I think we've helped this club and gotten some players that
should have very productive major league careers," he said. "I'm
going to bring Buck and Wood to the majors right away."

Rodriguez was 4-for-5 with his fourth four-hit game of the
season. He is hitting .478 in his last 23 games with 10 doubles,
three homers and 21 RBI.

"When you watch his approach to hitting, you can see why he's
going to go to the Hall of Fame," Detroit manager Alan Trammell
said. "It's not normal. He doesn't miss pitches like many hitters
do. He centers balls as well as anybody I've seen."

Nate Robertson (6-3) combined with two relievers on a
four-hitter, and Brandon Inge and Bobby Higginson had three hits
each for Detroit, which finished with 17 hits, including seven

Carlos Pena hit a two-run double in a six-run second inning
against Chris George (1-1) and singled in the third, giving him
hits in eight consecutive at-bats in day games at Kansas City. He
grounded out in the fourth.

On May 27, Pena was 6-for-6 with six RBI in Detroit's 17-7 win
at the Royals.

George allowed nine runs and 10 hits in three-plus innings.

"I made bad pitches and they hit them," George said. "I made
good pitches and they hit them, too. But there were more bad than

Four of the runs were unearned because of third baseman Joe
Randa's fielding error in the second.

"It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you play a
game like this one today," said Randa, who led major league third
basemen last year with a .980 fielding percentage.

"It's part of the game. We're out there trying our best and
we're not going to be perfect," Randa said. "You hope your
teammates pick you up."

Robertson won his fourth straight decision, allowing three runs,
four hits and four walks in six innings. He gave up a solo home run
to Beltran in the first inning and did not allow another hit until
Mike Sweeney homered leading off the fourth to make it 9-2.

Danny Patterson and Al Levine combined for hitless relief.

Rodriguez's two-run double capped the six-run second that also
included doubles by Pena and Marcus Thames. Higginson had an RBI
single in the fourth and Rodriguez followed with a two-run double.

Omar Infante hit a solo home run off Brian Anderson in the
seventh, and Craig Monroe had a two-run single in the eighth.

Angel Berroa had an RBI single for the Royals in the fourth.

"This was a good win," Trammell said. "We needed this one."

Game notes
Inge, Detroit's third baseman, had not committed an error
in 150 chances before he misplayed Berroa's grounder in the second
inning. He also had an error on Tony Graffanino's grounder in the
fifth. The Tigers' 67 errors lead the major leagues. ... The Royals
haven't swept a three-game series since beating Texas last Aug.