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News » Tigers-Royals Preview 2009-04-26

Tigers-Royals Preview 2009-04-26

Tigers-Royals Preview 2009-04-26
Magglio Ordonez seems to like few things as much as hitting in Kauffman Stadium.

Hitting against Sidney Ponson may be one of them.

Ordonez will get to do both Sunday as his Detroit Tigers conclude their nine-game road trip and three-game weekend series with the AL Central rival Kansas City Royals, who will send the struggling Ponson to the mound.

A victory in the series finale would secure a winning road trip for the Tigers (9-8), who bounced back from a 6-1 loss in the opener of this series to rout the Royals 9-1 on Saturday night. The long ball provided five of Detroit's runs as Curtis Granderson hit his sixth home run of the season, and Ordonez and Gerald Laird each added their first.

For Ordonez, the homer was his first extra-base hit of the season after 17 singles, and continued his success in Kansas City. The veteran right fielder is a .334 hitter with 14 homers and 62 RBIs in 78 career games at Kauffman Stadium. The homers are his most at any park where he's never played for the home team.

Laird also enjoys playing in Kansas City. He's a .408 (20-for-49) lifetime hitter at Kauffman, including 5-for-7 in this series.

"I've always liked coming here and playing," Laird said. "It's a big yard and I see the ball real well here. I'm just putting good swings on the ball and the ball is finding holes for me."

Ordonez has also enjoyed remarkable success against Ponson, hitting .500 (17-for-34) lifetime off the right-hander - his highest average against any pitcher he's faced at least 30 times.

Actually, Ponson (0-2, 7.04 ERA) hasn't been fooling just about anybody in 2009. After signing a minor-league contract with Kansas City in March, he's pitched like he belongs in the minors, walking 10 batters in 15 1-3 innings and allowing opponents to hit .317.

He gave up six runs, eight hits and four walks - all season highs - over a season-low 3 1-3 innings Tuesday in an 8-7 loss at AL-worst Cleveland to fall to 0-5 lifetime at Progressive Field.

"It doesn't matter about the place," Ponson told the Royals' official Web site. "You've got to pitch good. If you throw balls down the middle, they're going to get hit hard no matter where I pitch. You could pitch on Mars and they get hit hard like that."

While Ponson has struggled, Detroit starter Armando Galarraga (2-0, 1.96) continues to show great promise. After posting a staff-best 13 wins as a rookie in 2008, the right-hander has yielded three runs or fewer in all three of his starts this season.

Galarraga did endure his worst outing Tuesday, when he gave up three runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings, but did not factor in the decision of the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. He went 1-0 in two starts against Kansas City last season, limiting the Royals to three runs over 14 innings.

Kansas City (9-8) has alternated wins and losses over its last five contests. With the lineup batting an anemic .246, pitching has held the key to the Royals' fortunes. They are 8-0 when allowing three runs or fewer, compared with a 1-8 mark when the opponent scores four or more.

One Kansas City player swinging the bat well is second baseman Alberto Callaspo, who had two of the club's six hits Saturday night to raise his average to .380 and extend his hitting streak to eight games.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 26, 2009

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