KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Detroit Tigers have turned their season around in the past 40 games. They have the most victories in the majors during that stretch.
Kenny Rogers pitched six strong innings and Placido Polanco homered and drove in two runs to help the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1 on Tuesday night. Magglio Ordonez had three of the Tigers' 12 hits and had two RBI.
The Tigers are 27-13 during that stretch and are now two games above .500.
"Now that the team is all healthy, it will be interesting to see what we can do in the second half," Polanco said.
Rogers (8-6) did not come back after a 2-hour, 20-minute rain delay in the bottom of the seventh. He gave up four hits and one run in. In his past 11 starts, Rogers is 4-2 with a 2.92 earned run average.
"He (manager Jim Leyland) didn't let me negotiate with him on coming back out," Rogers said after the delay. "I didn't think it would last that long,"
After the length of the delay, there was no way Rogers would be allowed to return.
"I was hoping for a rainout to get a complete game. We wouldn't tell anybody it was only six innings," he said laughing.
Rogers ended a personal five-game losing streak against the Royals, defeating them for the first time since Sept. 23, 2006. Rogers had a 7.03 ERA in his previous five outings, four starts, against Kansas City.
Detroit sent eight men to the plate in a three-run fifth to take a four-run lead. Curtis Granderson led off the inning with a single and stopped at third on Polanco's double. Carlos Guillen worked a 12-pitch walk off reliever Joel Peralta to load the bases with no outs. Miguel Cabrera's one-out single to right scored Granderson.
A bases-loaded walk to Matt Joyce scored Polanco. Gary Sheffield's sacrifice fly brought home Guillen with the final run of the inning.
Rogers gave up a run in the first when Mike Aviles doubled, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games. He scored on Mark Grudzielanek's single. Grudzielanek had three of the four hits off Rogers and is 12-for-23 (.652) off the 43-year-old left-hander.
"I was really good except for Mark," Rogers said. "It's ridiculous. He is hitting like .800 off me. I threw one pitch eight to 10 inches off the plate and he doubled down the line. I've thrown him everything. The catcher doesn't have enough fingers. I told him when I was walking off that the next time I was going to throw him a knuckleball and I don't even throw a knuckleball. I wasn't joking. He's hit everything else."
Leyland praised Rogers' outing.
"I thought he was real aggressive and made some good pitches," Leyland said. "He made some quality pitches. He got some balls hit right back to him."
Guillen doubled with two outs in the first and scored on Ordonez's single for the first Detroit run.
Polanco hit a home run in the third off Kyle Davies (3-2) to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. His fielder's choice grounder in the ninth scored Edgar Renteria, who led off the inning with a single.
Davies (3-2) lasted but four innings as his pitch count reached 96. He allowed two runs on five hits.
"I wasn't locating and I wasn't getting any better," Davies said. "I threw a lot of pitches and they hit a lot of foul balls that maybe I could have gotten outs with if I had located better. I had a lot of three-ball counts. During the course of the start, its tough to make a change. You have to look at doing that between starts and in the bullpen sessions. During the start you have to try to say 'there's the glove -- hit it.' "
Davies was 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his first four starts after the Royals recalled him on May 31. In four July starts, Davies is 0-1 with a 6.53 ERA and he has not won since June 17, a span of six starts.
The Tigers have scored 26 runs in winning the first two games of this series.
"We haven't pitched well against this club," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Eight of their nine hitters are hot. We just have to pitch."
The Royals' attendance for 48 home games is 945,865. They are the only AL club that has not reached 1 million in attendance. ... Royals starting pitchers have thrown a total of 21 1/3 innings in five games after the All-Star break.