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Preview: Tigers Head To Kansas City To Battle Royals

(Sports Network) - While the focus of Detroit's game over the last few days has been on its pitching, and more specifically Armando Galarraga, Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez have made sure the offense gets its due as well.

The duo hope to keep the Tigers' offense on the front pages tonight when they lead their club against the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.

Detroit went into Thursday's finale of a three-game set with Cleveland with Galarraga's near perfect game still the talk of baseball. Galarraga lost his bid at perfection on Wednesday after retiring 26 straight batters on a blown call at first base by umpire Jim Joyce, who apologized to Galarraga after the game. The situation perhaps hit a bit of closure before Thursday's game after Galarraga presented the teary-eyed umpire with the lineup card.

The offense, which had been held to three runs or less in four of its previous five games, took over from there in a 12-6 rout. After an early lead, Detroit trailed 6-5 following a five-run fourth inning by Cleveland, but the Tigers plated seven runs over the next three innings.

That included a five-run seventh in which Ordonez hit a three-run homer and Cabrera connected on a solo shot. Ordonez fell a single shy of the cycle as the Indians took the final two games of the series thanks to a season-high 10 extra-base hits and despite four errors.

"It gives us confidence, especially going on to the road. We play some tough teams going on the road," Austin Jackson said after going 4-for-6 with a career-high three doubles.

Cabrera, meanwhile isn't likely to slow down versus the Royals. He is hitting .400 in six games this year against them with two homers and eight RBI, and he has gone deep seven times over his last nine games, batting .444 in that span. He leads the majors with 51 RBI and is tied for the lead in homers with 16.

Cabrera is also 4-for-5 lifetime with two homers against Bruce Chen, who filled in last Sunday for the injured Gil Meche and will do so again tonight after posting a solid outing.

Chen, who made 10 relief appearances this year before his start, held Boston to a run on two hits and two walks over four innings, striking out five over 75 pitches. It was the lefty's first start in the majors this year, but he was 0-1 with a 1.31 earned run average in three starts with Triple-A Omaha.

The 32-year-old is 1-0 with a save and 2.70 ERA with the Royals this year and 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in seven career meetings with the Tigers, five of those starts.

Kansas City has lost five of its last six, losing three of four to the Angels after Thursday's 5-4 setback. Zach Greinke became the first American League pitcher to reach seven losses after allowing four runs on 10 hits over six innings, but the Royals haven't scored with him on the mound in Greinke's last three starts.

"The past month has been tough for me," said Greinke.

Willie Bloomquist made it interesting with a two-run homer in the ninth off Angels closer Brian Fuentes, while Scott Podsednik had two hits to stretch his hitting streak to six games, a span in which he is batting .346 (9-for-26).

Detroit's Max Scherzer will make his second start since returning from a stint in the minors and he will try to post another victory this evening.

Scherzer returned to hurl 5 2/3 scoreless innings versus the Athletics, working around two hits and four walks while striking out a career-high 14 batters. The right-hander snapped a three-start losing streak in his first start since May 14, but exited after throwing 113 pitches.

"Strikeouts are fun. At the same time, it also ran my pitch count up and got me out of the game earlier. I would have liked to pitch longer," said the 25- year-old Scherzer, who improved to 2-4 after Sunday's victory with a 6.42 earned run average.

He faces the Royals for the fourth time in his career tonight and third this season. He is 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA against them lifetime and dominated the club at Kauffman Stadium on April 7, hurling six shutout innings of one-hit, two- walk ball in the victory.

These two clubs have split six meetings so far this year, with the Tigers wining two of three in Kansas City from April 5-8.