Detroit at Kansas City

Scoreboard
Detroit (52-37) «101000000251
Kansas City (47-45)1000000001111

Tigers edge Royals, stretch out Central lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was feeling ill even before Friday night's game against Kansas City, so he told bench coach Gene Lamont in the second inning that he was heading upstairs.

He missed having a front-row seat to watch his pitching staff's magic act.

Just like Houdini making his greatest escapes, Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers bullpen wiggled out of jams in every inning. Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera drove in a run apiece, and that was just enough to give the AL Central-leading Tigers a 2-1 victory over the second-place Royals.

"We really had to fight for this one," Tigers catch Bryan Holaday said.

Sanchez (6-3) scattered eight hits without a walk over seven innings, Joba Chamberlain got out of a tense eighth, and Joe Nathan worked around a single and a walk in the ninth for his 19th save -- and give Detroit its fifth straight win over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium this season.

Nathan got Nori Aoki to ground out on a full-count pitch to end the game.

"Obviously we have to play them a lot more," Chamberlain said. "We just have to keep grinding."

Salvador Perez drove in the only run for the Royals, who squandered a solid start by Danny Duffy (5-9). He gave up both runs, only one earned, while losing for the fourth time in five starts.

"Up against a guy like Sanchez," he said, "you can't make any mistakes."

The Royals appeared to be 90 feet from tying it with no outs in the eighth, when Aoki swiped second base and went to third when the throw from Holaday squirted into center field.

While that was going on, though, plate umpire Chad Fairchild was calling batter interference on Lorenzo Cain for stepping into the way of the throw to second. Cain was out and Aoki was forced to make the long, slow trot back to first base. He wound up getting stranded by Chamberlain.

"That was a big play," said Lamont, himself a former catcher. "Chad made the right call. I'm sure the Royals fans don't think so, but he did make the right call."

After the Tigers opened the series with a 16-4 blowout Thursday night, Sanchez and Duffy waged an entertaining pitchers' duel. And just like when they met in June, Sanchez was one run better.

Duffy surrendered a leadoff double to Austin Jackson and an RBI single to Kinsler in the first inning, and then gave up another run in the third when Cabrera hit a lazy sacrifice fly.

Duffy wound up allowing five hits while striking out six without a walk. He departed after hitting the Tigers' Nick Castellanos leading off the seventh inning, but Kelvin Herrera -- who hit the first batter he faced -- managed to wiggle out of the jam without any more damage.

Meanwhile, Sanchez was churning through the Royals lineup.

They scored their only run in the first inning when Eric Hosmer stretched a single into a double and Perez followed with a base hit. Sanchez struck out Billy Butler to end the inning, and then kept Kansas City at bay over the next six -- though none of them was clean.

Sanchez worked around a single in the second, a double in the third, a leadoff single in the fourth, and singles in the fifth and sixth innings without another run.

His tensest moment came in the seventh, when Mike Moustakas doubled off the wall in center field, missing a tying homer by a couple of feet. The Royals advanced Moustakas to third with a groundout, but Sanchez induced two more groundouts -- one a magnificent spinning stab by shortstop Eugenio Suarez -- to quietly end the threat.

"Same thing we see every time. He was unreal," Moustakas said. "He's so good at commanding his pitches and mixing speeds with different pitches and different counts. He's a tough at-bat any time. He commands both sides of the plate with all of his pitches, and he adds and subtracts his fastball. He does whatever he wants."

Notes

Sanchez is 5-2 with a 1.08 ERA in his career against the Royals. ... Tigers DH Victor Martinez (strained left side) missed his fifth straight game. Kinsler replaced him on the AL All-Star roster Friday. ... The Royals were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. ... The Royals activated Aoki (strained left groin) from the DL and optioned INF Christian Colon to Triple-A Omaha before the game. ... Tigers RHP Rick Porcello faces Royals RHP James Shields on Saturday.

 
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Miguel Cabrera drives in a run, helping the Tigers stretch their AL Central lead to 6 1/2 games.  (USATSI)
Miguel Cabrera drives in a run, helping the Tigers stretch their AL Central lead to 6 1/2 games. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Detroit

A. Jackson
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
Kansas City

E. Hosmer
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF4130012 .251
Ian Kinsler, 2B4011013 .305
Miguel Cabrera, 1B3001011 .313
J.D. Martinez, RF4000041 .328
Torii Hunter, DH4000021 .272
Nick Castellanos, 3B3000000 .269
   Don Kelly, 3B0000000 .258
Eugenio Suarez, SS3000000 .274
Bryan Holaday, C2000000 .278
Rajai Davis, LF3110000 .290
Anibal Sanchez, P0000000 .500
   Joba Chamberlain, P0000000 .000
   Joe Nathan, P0000000 .000
Totals3025209  
Batting
2B - Austin Jackson (19, Duffy)
SF - Miguel Cabrera (7)
SH - Bryan Holaday (1)
RBI - Ian Kinsler (50), Miguel Cabrera (74)
SB - Ian Kinsler (10, 2nd base off Duffy/Perez), Rajai Davis (24, 2nd base off Herrera/Perez)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Castellanos-Suarez
E - Nick Castellanos (7, Throwing)
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Anibal Sanchez (W,6-3) 7811030 3.04
Joba Chamberlain (H,17) 1200000 2.70
Joe Nathan (S,19) 1100110 5.61
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 90-62, Joba Chamberlain 10-8, Joe Nathan 27-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 11-5, Joba Chamberlain 1-2, Joe Nathan 2-0
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 27, Joba Chamberlain 5, Joe Nathan 5
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF-LF5020003 .266
Lorenzo Cain, CF-RF4000002 .313
Eric Hosmer, 1B4130001 .268
Salvador Perez, C4021003 .284
Billy Butler, DH4000025 .269
Mike Moustakas, 3B4010011 .193
Omar Infante, 2B4020001 .273
Jarrod Dyson, LF-CF3000102 .294
Alcides Escobar, SS4010013 .283
Danny Duffy, P0000000 .000
   Kelvin Herrera, P0000000 .000
   Aaron Crow, P0000000 .000
   Wade Davis, P0000000 .000
Totals36111114  
Batting
2B - Norichika Aoki (13, Sanchez), Eric Hosmer (25, Sanchez), Mike Moustakas (11, Sanchez)
RBI - Salvador Perez (36)
2-OUT RBI - Salvador Perez (8)
SB - Omar Infante (4, 2nd base off Nathan/Holaday)
PK - Salvador Perez (1, Sanchez)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Danny Duffy (3, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Danny Duffy (L,5-9) 6521060 2.76
Kelvin Herrera 1000010 2.13
Aaron Crow 1000010 2.33
Wade Davis 1000010 1.16
HBP - Castellanos (by Danny Duffy), Suarez (by Kelvin Herrera)
Pitches-Strikes - Danny Duffy 99-69, Kelvin Herrera 9-7, Aaron Crow 10-9, Wade Davis 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Danny Duffy 5-7, Kelvin Herrera 2-0, Aaron Crow 1-1, Wade Davis 1-1
Batters Faced - Danny Duffy 24, Kelvin Herrera 4, Aaron Crow 3, Wade Davis 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31581
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 88
Umpires - Home - Chad Fairchild, First Base - Victor Carapazza, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Adam Hamari