Tigers 3, Royals 1

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Kenny Rogers helped get Jim Leyland a win in his first game as the Detroit Tigers’ manager.

Rogers combined with two relievers on a four-hitter, Chris Shelton homered twice and the Tigers began the season with a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

Carlos Guillen also homered for the Tigers, and Fernando Rodney got the save in his first game as closer in place of injured Todd Jones.

Leyland, who replaced Alan Trammell after last season, managed in the major leagues for the first time since he quit the Colorado Rockies in 1999. Leyland started his professional baseball career in 1964 as a minor league catcher for the Tigers

Rogers left Texas after a stormy season in which he was suspended for 13 games after shoving two television cameramen. The 41-year-old left-hander gave up one run and three hits in six innings, struck out five and walked none in his first opening-day victory since 2000.

He faced the minimum nine batters through the first three innings, with a double play wiping out Angel Berroa’s third-inning infield single. Rogers gave up a tying, two-out RBI single to Reggie Sanders in the fourth.

Joel Zumaya made his major league debut when he relieved Rogers to start the seventh, giving up a leadoff walk and Doug Mientkiewicz’s two-out single, but he escaped when he got Berroa to ground into a forceout.

Rodney worked a hitless ninth for his 13th career save. Jones, who returned to Detroit during the offseason, aggravated a hamstring injury last weekend and went on the disabled list.

Shelton hit two go-ahead solo homers off loser Scott Elarton, Shelton’s first career multihomer game, and finished 3-for-4. Only a leaping grab by second baseman Mark Grudzielanek on Shelton’s eighth-inning liner kept him from going 4-for-4.

Shelton’s drive into the left-field stands in the fourth put the Tigers up 1-0, and he lined a pitch from Elarton just above the fence and just inside the right-field foul pole with two outs in the sixth to make it 2-1.

Guillen’s solo homer in the eighth against Andrew Sisco gave Detroit a 3-1 lead.

Elarton, Cleveland’s No. 5 starter a year ago, gave up two runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.

Notes: Royals C John Buck will wear No. 14 this season after wearing No. 2 since joining the team in mid-2004. Buck wore No. 14 through the minors in tribute to his late brother, Paul, who was born on April 14. Tony Graffanino, who wore No. 14 for the Royals until being traded away, has since returned to the club and now wears Buck’s old No. 2. … Elmer Dessens struck out three of his four batters. … The Tigers are 3-2 against the Royals in openers, including an 11-2 victory last season at Detroit.

AP-ES-04-03-06 1909EDT

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