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Sheff, Pudge help Tigers tame Royals, bring Meche back to earth

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Gary Sheffield is still trying to get comfortable with his new team and new role.

Sheffield, who signed a three-year $41 million contract with Detroit, hit his first home run for his new team as the Tigers defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on a cold Saturday afternoon. Ivan Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson also homered for the Tigers.

"Anytime you change teams you always have an adjustment period," said Sheffield, who is playing for his seventh team in a 19-year career in the Majors.

Sheffield will be the Tigers' primary designated hitter this season, but he has had only 37 at-bats as the DH prior to this season.

"I'm trying to figure out different things," Sheffield said. "A couple of times I stepped in there and I wasn't real sharp. I got a couple of pitches yesterday to hit and winded up hitting the ball to the shortstop. I felt like I didn't get lose enough. If you hit balls off the tee the whole game, you end up too tired."

Sheffield, who had just one single in his first three games with the Tigers, homered to left with two outs in the first.

"I got a good pitch to hit," Sheffield said. "When you have success early it breeds confidence."

Rodriguez homered into the Tigers' bullpen to leadoff the fourth, putting the Tigers up 4-3. It was his 19th home run in 152 career games against Kansas City. Granderson homered to leadoff the fifth.

All the Tigers' home runs were off Gil Meche (1-1), who limited the Boston Red Sox to one run in 7 1/3 innings in the Royals' season opening victory. Meche gave up six runs and eight hits in seven innings, while striking out four and walking two. The Royals signed Meche to a five-year $55 million contract in December, making him the highest paid pitcher in franchise history.

"After the third inning when I gave up three runs, we battled back and then I give up a home run the next inning," Meche said. "That kind of eats you up to let down your teammates when they are battling so hard."

Said Royals manager Buddy Bell, "Meche pitched pretty well against the American League champions, although I am sure he'd like to have back the three pitches he left up."

Mike Maroth (1-0), who was making his first start since May 25 and having arthroscopic elbow surgery last June, picked up the victory, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings. Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his second save of the season.

"I've been anxious for the season to start," Maroth said. "It's good to be back and going out and pitching again. It's been a long time. I know this is the last place I made my last start last year, but that wasn't the big deal. I'm looking forward to not only this start, but for the entire year. It is not just satisfaction for this game alone.

"I'm excited not just for this start, but getting the season going, being healthy. It's a completely different feeling than I had a year ago. I felt comfortable. I wished I had a better outing. It wasn't the best outing, not my best performance, but we did enough as a team."

Reggie Sanders went 3-for-4, including a two-run homer in the third, and scored three runs. He doubled in the second and scored on Esteban German's single. Sanders singled to lead off the sixth and scored on German's double.

"We kept answering and they kept answering," Sanders said. "It felt great from my standpoint, but at the end of the day it's about winning. I just try to work out and do the things I need to do to remain physically in shape and when the call of duty comes then try to do what I can do."

In a three-run third, Sheffield and Granderson contributed run-producing singles, while Placido Polanco scored on Magglio Ordonez's sacrifice fly.

The temperature was 29 degrees for the first pitch with the wind-chill factor making it feel like 20 with northwest winds at 15 mph.

Notes

  • Rodriguez is hitting .350 at Kauffman Stadium, the second highest average at the stadium among active players at Kansas City.
  • Royals 1B Ryan Shealy is 0-for-12 in his first four games. He reached first in the fourth when he was hit by a pitch, but Maroth picked him off.
  • Rookie 3B Alex Gordon, who was 1-for-15, did not start against the Tigers as CF David DeJesus was the only left-handed hitter in the KC lineup.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Ivan Rodriguez slaps a little leather on David DeJesus to go with his fourth-inning blast off Gil Meche.  (AP)
Ivan Rodriguez slaps a little leather on David DeJesus to go with his fourth-inning blast off Gil Meche. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

G. Sheffield
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Kansas City

R. Sanders
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF3222100 .375
Placido Polanco, 2B4110001 .444
Gary Sheffield, DH2122200 .231
Magglio Ordonez, RF3001021 .154
Carlos Guillen, SS4000002 .176
Ivan Rodriguez, C4111001 .353
Sean Casey, 1B4010000 .231
Craig Monroe, LF4110020 .143
Brandon Inge, 3B4000031 .000
Totals3268637  
Batting
2B - Craig Monroe (2, Meche)
HR - Curtis Granderson (2, Meche), Gary Sheffield (1, Meche), Ivan Rodriguez (1, Meche)
SF - Magglio Ordonez (1)
RBI - Curtis Granderson 2 (7), Gary Sheffield 2 (4), Magglio Ordonez (1), Ivan Rodriguez (1)
2-OUT RBI - Gary Sheffield (1)
CS - Gary Sheffield (1, 2nd base by Meche/Buck)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Maroth-Polanco-Casey
E - Carlos Guillen (1, Throwing)
Detroit Tigers
Mike Maroth (W,1-0) 5644131 7.20
Jason Grilli (H,1) 1211010 20.25
Joel Zumaya (H,1) 2200110 0.00
Todd Jones (S,2) 1000010 0.00
HBP - Shealy (by Mike Maroth)
WP - Joel Zumaya (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Maroth 57-33, Jason Grilli 24-15, Joel Zumaya 32-20, Todd Jones 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Maroth 4-6, Jason Grilli 2-0, Todd Jones 2-0
Batters Faced - Mike Maroth 21, Jason Grilli 5, Joel Zumaya 9, Todd Jones 3
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, CF4120100 .316
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5001012 .167
Mike Sweeney, DH4000003 .133
Reggie Sanders, RF4332010 .750
Emil Brown, LF4010001 .182
Esteban German, 3B3022101 .571
Ryan Shealy, 1B1000000 .000
   a- Ross Gload, PH-1B2010001 .250
John Buck, C3000032 .300
   b- Mark Teahen, PH1000002 .250
    Jason LaRue, C0000000 .167
Tony Pena, SS4110010 .294
Totals35510526  
a-grounded out for Shealy in the 6th
b-flied out for Buck in the 8th
Batting
2B - David DeJesus (2, Maroth), Reggie Sanders (1, Maroth), Esteban German (1, Grilli)
HR - Reggie Sanders (1, Maroth)
RBI - Mark Grudzielanek (5), Reggie Sanders 2 (2), Esteban German 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Reggie Sanders 2 (2)
PK - Ryan Shealy (1, Maroth)
Team LOB - 6
Kansas City Royals
Gil Meche (L,1-1) 7866243 4.40
Joel Peralta 2000130 1.93
Pitches-Strikes - Gil Meche 89-48, Joel Peralta 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gil Meche 8-7, Joel Peralta 2-1
Batters Faced - Gil Meche 29, Joel Peralta 7
Game Information
Attendance - 13899
Game Time - 2:41
Temperature - 29
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor