|Kansas City (70-85)||0||0||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||4||10||0|
|Detroit (83-72) «||0||1||0||3||0||0||0||1||x||5||9||1|
DETROIT -- Most of the 32,360 fans at Comerica Park groaned when Jhonny Peralta hit a tailor-made double-play grounder that looked set to end the eighth inning.
Andy Dirks made them cheer.
Jhonny Peralta's grounder brought home the go-ahead run because Dirks' hard slide broke up a potential inning-ending double play in the eighth and the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Wednesday night.
"I was just trying to break up the double play and try to get a piece of him any way I could to help us score that run," Dirks said. "That's just kind of the way you play baseball."
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Detroit started the day tied with the Chicago White Sox atop the AL Central for the first time since Sept. 2. After beating Kansas City, some of the Tigers watched the White Sox host Cleveland, quietly rooting for the Indians while eating ribs and drinking beer.
Detroit wound up alone in first place for the first time since before play on July 24 when the White Sox lost to Cleveland later.
Detroit found a way to break through the eighth.
It appeared as if Kansas City was going to keep the score tied when Peralta hit a grounder to third baseman Mike Moustakas. Dirks, though, slid so late and hard that second baseman Irving Falu didn't attempt a throw, allowing pinch-runner Don Kelly to score what he said was most important run of his career.
"Peralta was slow getting out of the box, so that's an easy double play," Moustakas said. "I'm always going to go to second on that play, but Dirks did a heck of a job to break it up."
Dirks was swarmed by teammates in the dugout to celebrate the gritty, clean play he made.
"That's good, old-fashioned baseball," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Cabrera, who went 0 for 4, started the day with the AL lead in batting average and RBI and was one homer behind Texas' Josh Hamilton. Baseball hasn't had a player lead a league in all three categories since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Cabrera was close to pulling into at least a temporary tie with Hamilton for homers, but Gordon prevented him from hitting his 43rd homer.
"It was hit so high that I had plenty of time to find the fence and get ready," Gordon said. "I thought I might have to climb the wall or at least jump, but at the end, I just had to put my glove up."
The Tigers have won six of nine games on their final 10-game homestand and 32 of their last 43 games at Comerica Park. They had, however, lost 11 straight one-run games since beating Toronto 3-2 on Aug. 23.
Kansas City has lost four straight -- three consecutive against Detroit -- after winning four in a row, including two against the White Sox.
"I love my team," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We've played three games here, and we're 0-3, but we're in these games and we're not far from the point where we are going to be consistently winning these teams.
"No matter what has happened this year, we've gotten knocked down and gotten right back up. These guys fight every day, and they are going to do everything in their power to beat Detroit in these games."
Detroit starter Rick Porcello lasted just four innings, giving up four runs and seven hits.
"His velocity dropped and that was a red flag for me," Leyland said.
Luis Marte got two outs in the fifth and Al Alburquerque gave up only one hit over 2 1/3 innings. Joaquin Benoit (4-3) allowed one hit in the eighth. Jose Valverde closed the game for his 32nd save in 37 chances.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks over seven innings.
Young doubled and Dirks singled to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the second.
|The Tigers take care of their business against the pesky Royals to move ahead of their AL Central rival White Sox. (Getty Images)|
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|Kansas City Royals|
|David Lough, CF||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.244|
|Alcides Escobar, SS||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.291|
|Alex Gordon, LF||4||1||2||1||0||0||0||.293|
|Billy Butler, DH||4||0||1||1||0||2||1||.314|
|Salvador Perez, C||4||0||1||0||0||3||2||.295|
|Mike Moustakas, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.243|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.237|
|Eric Hosmer, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.232|
|Irving Falu, 2B||4||1||3||0||0||0||0||.379|
|2B - David Lough (2, Porcello), Alex Gordon 2 (51, Porcello, Marte), Irving Falu (5, Porcello)|
|HR - Jeff Francoeur (14, Porcello)|
|RBI - David Lough (2), Alex Gordon (69), Billy Butler (103), Jeff Francoeur (43)|
|2-OUT RBI - Alex Gordon (21), Billy Butler (37)|
|CS - Irving Falu (2, 2nd base by Alburquerque/Avila)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Kelvin Herrera (L,4-3)||1||2||1||1||0||0||0||2.41|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Guthrie 103-66, Kelvin Herrera 19-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Guthrie 11-7, Kelvin Herrera 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Jeremy Guthrie 30, Kelvin Herrera 5|
|Austin Jackson, CF||4||1||2||1||0||1||2||.304|
|Quintin Berry, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.264|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.327|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.309|
|Delmon Young, DH||4||1||2||0||0||0||2||.273|
|Don Kelly, PR-DH||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.187|
|Andy Dirks, RF||4||0||2||1||0||1||1||.318|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||3||1||1||1||1||0||0||.242|
|Alex Avila, C||4||1||1||2||0||1||3||.248|
|Omar Infante, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.277|
|2B - Austin Jackson (28, Guthrie), Delmon Young (26, Guthrie)|
|HR - Austin Jackson (16, Guthrie), Alex Avila (9, Guthrie)|
|RBI - Austin Jackson (65), Andy Dirks (34), Jhonny Peralta (61), Alex Avila 2 (47)|
|2-OUT RBI - Austin Jackson (18)|
|SB - Don Kelly (2, 2nd base off Herrera/Perez)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|E - Prince Fielder (10, Dropped fly)|
|Joaquin Benoit (W,4-3)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.15|
|Jose Valverde (S,32)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.95|
|Pitches-Strikes - Rick Porcello 61-42, Luis Marte 16-11, Al Alburquerque 30-23, Joaquin Benoit 17-12, Jose Valverde 12-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rick Porcello 6-3, Al Alburquerque 1-2, Joaquin Benoit 1-1, Jose Valverde 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Rick Porcello 19, Luis Marte 3, Al Alburquerque 7, Joaquin Benoit 4, Jose Valverde 3|
|Attendance - 32360|
|Game Time - 2:39|
|Temperature - 63|
|Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Cory Blaser|