KANSAS CITY -- When the Tigers exploded for 26 hits in their 16-2 victory over the Royals on Friday night, ex-Detroit first baseman Carlos Pena flashed back nine years to a day when the Tigers did even better in the hit category.
On May 27, 2004, Detroit had 27 hits against the Royals. Pena was the biggest contributor, going 6-for-6.
"Of course I remember," said Pena, who's now a Kansas City backup. "How could I forget?"
Pena recalls that the 27-hit rampage came during a sweltering day game.
"It was hot and I was hot," Pena said. "I was seeing the ball really well, just being precise. It was the best game I've ever had in my career with the feeling to match. I'd never felt so locked in before. Close, but not like that.
"I just felt like if the ball was over the plate that day, I was going to blast it and I did that day. It was awesome."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Tigers have had at least 25 hits in a game just five times in the live ball era, dating to 1920. The only two occurrences in the last 75 years have come against the Royals.
On Friday, the Tigers didn't have a six-hit performer, ala Pena in 2004. But they did have two players with five hits apiece -- Omar Infante and Andy Dirks went 5-for-5. It was just the second time that Tigers teammates have collected five hits during the same game since at least 1916. On July 30, 1917, the trio of Ty Cobb, Bobby Veach and Ossie Vitt each had five hits in a 16-4 Tigers victory at Washington.
Castellanos singles out KC for notable marks
KANSAS CITY -- After Tigers top prospect Nick Castellanos picked up his first Major League hit in the fifth inning of Saturday night's 4-3 loss to the Royals, he stood at first base next to a guy who used to be his high school teammate.
Kansas City's Eric Hosmer was a senior at American Heritage High in Plantation, Fla., when Castellanos was a sophomore.
"I played third and he played first," said left fielder Castellanos, who went 1-for-2 with a run scored in his first Major League start. "When I was on first, it felt like I was doing baserunning drills back in my sophomore year at American Heritage. It's really funny how baseball works out. Now, we're on the Major League stage playing together."
Castellanos' first Major League hit came in the venue where he was the 2012 Futures Game Most Valuable Player. Castellanos, who is ranked No. 11 in MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects, had a homer, three hits and three RBIs in that Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium.
Santiago choice at shortstop; Iglesias rests
KANSAS CITY -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland weighed whether to play Ramon Santiago or Jose Iglesias at shortstop on Saturday night against the Royals and decided to go with Santiago. Iglesias hasn't played since Wednesday, when he left a game against the Red Sox early because of shin splints in both legs.
"[Iglesias] could play today, but I'm going to give him another day," Leyland said.
Santiago had an early RBI double on Friday that helped jumpstart a Detroit offense, which had a pair of five-run innings.
Counting the off-day on Thursday, Iglesias will have a three-day break to deal with the shin splint discomfort.
Infante moves up in order after five-hit game
KANSAS CITY -- Coming off a five-hit, six-RBI night and facing Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, Omar Infante was moved to the No. 6 slot in the batting order on Saturday.
The right-handed-hitting Infante had batted in the No. 8 hole in Friday night's 16-2 win in the series opener against right-hander James Shields.
"I didn't move him up because he had six RBIs, I moved him up because we're facing a left-handed pitcher and the lineup looks a little different," manager Jim Leyland said.
Infante's 5-for-5 game on Friday lifted his batting average to .328. That would rank third in the American League behind only Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout if Infante had enough plate appearances.
Infante has shown before that he can hit for a high average over a long period of time.
In his All-Star season with Atlanta in 2010, Infante was third in the National League with a .321 batting average in 471 at-bats.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.