Royals recognize importance of Tigers series

Royals recognize importance of Tigers series

KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Eric Hosmer called the Royals' upcoming series with the Tigers the biggest series of his career so far. For the team as a whole, this might be the biggest series this late in the season since 2003.

The next five games present an opportunity to gain some ground on the American League Central leaders, who hold a 7 1/2-game advantage over the Royals.

"These are huge games for us, we're not going to sugar-coat it," Hosmer said. "We know they're the head of the division right now, we know we have some ground to make up. That's the good part about going into this series, we control that. We don't have to worry about who they're playing or what the score is in that game, we just have to go out and play our game. I think they know we're playing good baseball and we're going to be ready to play."

The Royals have won 19 of 26 games since the All-Star break, but haven't been able to gain much ground, since Detroit has gone 18-7 in that span. However, the Royals have been more successful in head-to-head competition with the Tigers, winning the last series two games to one and taking a 5-3 lead in the season series.

"We've always played Detroit tough, it's no different now," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "They've been hot as of late, just like we have. Our August has been good and so has theirs. It should be a fun series."

The Royals briefly took over the second-place spot in the AL Central on Monday night, but they've since dropped back to third, where they are 1 1/2 games behind the Indians, after two straight losses to the Marlins. They're 4 1/2 games out of an AL Wild Card spot.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.