MLB

Infante helps Tigers pound Royals 16-2

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)

James Shields is known as ''Big Game James.'' The Kansas City Royals had a big game Friday night to keep their slim hopes alive in the wild-card standings.

Shields, however, responded with one of the worst outings of his career.

Omar Infante set career highs with five hits and six RBIs, Andy Dirks also went 5 for 5 and the Detroit Tigers pounded the Royals 16-2.

Austin Jackson drove in four runs as the Tigers finished with a season-high 26 hits. Dirks, who is hitting .410 against Kansas City this season, scored four times.

Shields (10-9), who was 4-0 in his previous five starts, was charged with 10 runs and 14 hits in 3 2-3 innings in his shortest start of the season. The runs and hits matched career-worst totals for the right-hander.

''It was not a good outing,'' Shields said. ''I actually went back and looked at the video, and a lot of my pitches they were hitting were below the strike zone. That's a good hitting team over there, and I didn't do my job tonight. You've got to move forward, but it was a terrible job by me.''

Royals manager Ned Yost thought Shields had his best fastball in a month.

''If you want to take something positive out of this, that's a good thing,'' Shields said. ''But tonight I didn't do my job. It was one of those nights where everything just kept going. Balls were finding holes everywhere they hit the balls. You've got to tip your cap and move on.''

The last team to collect 14 hits against Shields was the Tigers on June 28, 2012, in 7 2-3 innings.

''They are a smart team,'' Yost said. ''They can really swing the bats. It looked to me like they were really sitting soft, and when they got it, they didn't miss it.''

Infante had run-producing singles in the second, fourth and seventh innings and a three-run double in the fifth. That was more than enough support for Anibal Sanchez (13-7), who allowed one run in seven innings while lowering his AL-best ERA to 2.61.

Alex Gordon led off the first with a double for the only extra-base hit Sanchez would allow.

''You have to take it for what it is; it's a loss and that's all,'' Gordon said. ''We'll come back tomorrow. They swung the bats pretty well tonight, but it's just one game.''

Sparked by the return of Miguel Cabrera, every Detroit starter had a hit and scored a run in the first five innings. The Tigers sent 10 men to the plate in the second and fourth, scoring five times in each frame.

Cabrera, who did not play in four of the previous five games because of an abdominal strain, went 1 for 2 with a RBI and walked twice before being replaced by Danny Worth in the sixth inning.

Jackson had a two-run double in the second and a two-run single in the fourth. The four RBIs matched his career high.

Billy Butler drove in the first Royals run with a single in the first for his sixth straight hit. David Lough doubled and scored on Jarrod Dyson's sacrifice fly in the ninth for the other Kansas City run.

NOTES: Royals C Salvador Perez was cleared to play after experiencing dizziness Thursday and leaving in the fifth inning after taking a foul tip off the mask. Perez, who was on the concussion list in August, switched to a new mask. ''We're going to scoot him up under the hitters a little closer, see if maybe he can dodge some foul balls that way,'' Yost said. ... SS Jose Iglesias was held out of the Tigers lineup after exiting in the fifth Wednesday with shin splints. ... Yost said 2B Chris Getz has not been cleared to return after suffering a possible concussion Tuesday. ... RHP Justin Verlander, who starts Saturday, is 0-2 with a 2.60 ERA in four 2012 starts against the Royals. .3B Jamey Carroll's infield single in the eighth was his 999th career hit.

Tagged: Tigers, Royals, James Shields

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