KANSAS CITY -- Carlos Pena had to check the Tigers' lineup posted in the clubhouse to see if he was playing after being held out the previous two games and mired in a 2-for-30 skid.
"It wasn't until this morning that I decided to get him in the game," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.
Excellent move, Trammell.
Pena became the fourth player in franchise history to collect six hits in a game and the Tigers pounded out 27 hits, matching a club record, in routing the Royals, 17-7, on Thursday afternoon.
Pena's record-setting day included home runs in the eighth and ninth innings, five RBIs and four runs. He is the third player in the Majors to collect six hits in a game this month, joining Toronto's Frank Catalanotto (May 1) and Texas' Alfonso Soriano (May 8).
Most hits in a game
The modern-day record for most hits by one team in a nine-inning game -- 31 -- is shared by the 1901 New York Giants and the 1992 Milwaukee Brewers.
On June 9, 1901, the Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds, 25-13, in Cincinnati while on Aug. 28, 1992, the Brewers beat up on the Toronto Blue Jays, 22-2, at SkyDome.
The Major League record for most hits by one team in a game is 33. The Cleveland Indians edged Philadelphia, 18-17, in 18 innings on July 10, 1932 in Cleveland.
"A game like today, I was definitely very blessed," Pena said. "Things like that don't happen. They don't happen. They are very rare."
How rare is it? He became the first player to ever have six hits in a game against the Royals. The only Tigers to accomplish the feat in nine-inning games were Bill Nance (July 13, 1901) at Cleveland, Ty Cobb (May 15, 1925) at St. Louis and Damion Easley (Aug. 8, 2001) at Texas.
Pena's six-hit day equals an American League record for a nine-inning game. It is only the 31st time in AL history for a six-hit game in nine innings.
"That's a career day," Trammell said. "He'll never forget this day, that's for sure. I didn't do a darn thing. I just put him in there. Hopefully, he will carry this over for awhile. What a day, that sums it up."
While Pena will never forget the day, he would rather not dwell on the past month. In his previous 111 at-bats, he was hitting .153 and struck out 41 times.
"I asked myself if the hour glass goes up," Pena said. "No, it doesn't. Forget about it, it's done. Forget about what happened. It doesn't matter what has happened. It's in the past. Understand, we still have a lot of games left. Really, it's not about you. It's about the Detroit Tigers."
Pena singled in the second and third innings off Royals starter Brian Anderson. He doubled in the six-run fifth off Justin Huisman.
His line-drive single in the sixth struck Huisman in the forehead after it ticked off his glove.
"I got very scared," Pena said. "My heart started pounding fast. I was glad to see him walk off the field."
Carlos Pena / 1B
Weight: 215 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
Said Trammell, "That ball was smoked. If that ball hits him flush in the head, he would not be standing."
Huisman was removed from the game and replaced by Scott Sullivan, who yielded a home run to Pena in the eighth. Pena belted a three-run homer in the ninth off Nate Field, the fourth Kansas City pitcher. Both home runs came on 1-2 pitches.
What was Pena thinking as he circled the bases after his sixth hit?
"Are you serious?" Pena said were his thoughts.
The Tigers' 27 hits equaled the club record. They also had 27 hits on Sept. 29, 1928, against the Yankees in Detroit.
"That means really nothing," Trammell said.
What meant most to Trammell he said was the Tigers picked up a victory to snap a three-game losing streak.
Pena, who entered the game hitting .204 and finished it with a .236 average, was not the only Tiger stroking hits.
Alex Sanchez, who raised his average to .373 and Omar Infante each collected four hits, matching their career bests. Seven Tigers had multi-hit games. The others were Craig Monroe and Rondell White, with three hits, and Brandon Inge and Ivan Rodriguez, each with two hits.
"We got so many base hits, I couldn't believe it," Pena said.
At one point in the sixth, the Tigers had 21 hits in their first 33 at-bats, a .636 batting average
"It seemed like everything we hit found a hole," Inge said. "It was a good day for hitting."
Every Tigers starter had a hit and scored at least one run, while eight Tigers drove in a run.
"It was unbelievable," White said. "Everything was just falling."
Anderson, ironically, entered the game with a 5-0 career record and 3.43 earned run average against the Tigers.
He faced 24 batters and 13 reached base -- a dozen hits and a walk.
The Tigers sent 10 men to the plate in a six-run fifth and had eight hits to expand their lead to 10-2.
That made it easy for left-hander Nate Robertson to claim his third victory. Robertson, who held the Royals hitless over the first three innings, left after five innings, allowing two runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter.
Alan Eskew is a contributing writer for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.