KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Even without a homer, the Detroit Tigers were Ruthian against Royals right-hander James Shields.
When Shields left Friday night's game with one out in the fourth inning, the Tigers' totals on the Kauffman Stadium scoreboard were reminiscent on Ruth's home-run total of 714. They had seven runs on 14 hits, all achieved in the span of 10 outs.
That was just the start of things, as it turned out.
Second baseman Omar Infante went 5-for-5 with six RBIs to set career highs in both departments, and the Tigers won, 16-2. They never hit a homer or triple all night, but they finished with 26 hits, one short of the franchise record, last achieved in Kansas City in 2004.
The Tigers did this in their first game after losing, 20-4, in Boston. There can't be many teams in hardball history who won by more than a dozen runs in the game after they lost by more than a dozen.
Infante had a three-run double off the top of the leftfield fence in the fifth that narrowly became his first career grand slam. That raised the lead to 13-1.
Given the increasingly comfortable edge, Anibal Sanchez continued to pitch like the American League's ERA leader, which he continues to be.
Sanchez allowed one run in seven innings to lower his ERA to 2.61. His teammate, Max Scherzer, was second to him in the AL at 2.88 when the day began.
He got something almost totally opposite of his most recent start at Kauffman Stadium, in July: a 1-0 loss. He trailed by that score after one inning Friday. The Tigers scored the next 16 runs until Kansas City scored one in its ninth.
The Tigers wound up with both a five-run second and a five-run fourth off Shields, after the runners he left on base scored. He began the night tied with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw for the major-league in quality starts; he wound up matching his career high in both runs and hits allowed.
Their five-run second consisted, in order, of a walk, two singles, Ramon Santiago's RBI double, Austin Jackson's two-out double and Miguel Cabrera's two-out RBI single.
Their five-run fourth consisted, in order, of Torii Hunter's double, a walk, three singles and -- after Shields left -- a bases-loaded walk and two-run single by Austin Jackson.
Before this game became a blowout, Sanchez showed again that he's one Tigers pitcher who has no trouble making a strong and accurate throw to first base.
While falling toward the third-base line, he threw a remarkable strike to first to get Emilio Bonifacio on his sacrifice bunt for the first out in the first inning.
In the third, leading 5-1, the Tigers loaded the bases with none out. Shields picked Andy Dirks off third and turned it into a scoreless inning.
When Bonifacio led off the Royals' third with a single, with the middle of the order came up, there was a moment to wonder whether Shields' pickoff of Dirks might have turned the game around.
Then Sanchez suddenly whirled toward first and picked off Bonifacio, who at one point had been successful on all 13 of his steal attempts since he joined K.C. For a team that hadn't thrown out a base stealer in the last month, Sanchez had found a way to short-circuit the running game.
Sanchez retired the next two hitters to end the third. The Tigers raised their lead from 5-1 to 10-1 in the fourth.
Entering the game, the Royals and Tigers each had scored 43 runs against each other this season. The Royals will have to work to catch up now in that department.
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