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Pena recalls another big hitting day for Tigers

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.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to
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