September 26, 2012
Royals manager Ned Yost, though, isn't taking that as a bad sign. The opposite, really.
Jhonny Peralta brought home the go-ahead run when Andy Dirks' hard slide broke up a potential inning-ending double play in the eighth inning and the Detroit Tigers beat Kansas City 5-4 Wednesday night.
"We're in these games and we're not far from the point where we are going to be consistently winning these teams," Yost said. "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."
It looked as if the Royals were going to keep the score tied in the eighth 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.
"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.
"Dirks busted his tail to get down there and break it up," Yost said. "He got a great jump and he went in aggressively and cleanly. That's just a great play."
Delmon Young hit an infield single with one out in the eighth off Kelvin Herrera (4-3) and was replaced by Kelly, who stole second base and took third on Dirks' single.
Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera was robbed of a tiebreaking homer in the fifth inning by Alex Gordon's catch above the left-field wall.
"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."
Detroit started the day tied with the Chicago White Sox atop the AL Central for the first time since Sept. 2.
Before its skid, Kansas City won four in a row, including two against the White Sox.
Alex Avila hit a two-run homer and Austin Jackson had a solo shot in the fourth inning to tie the game.
Cabrera, who went 0 for 4, started the day with the AL lead in batting average and RBIs 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.
Detroit starter Rick Porcello lasted just four innings, giving up four runs and seven hits.
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.
Kansas City went ahead 3-1 in the third inning after Falu, David Lough and Billy Butler doubled. Jeff Francoeur's solo homer in the fourth inning gave the Royals a three-run lead.
NOTES: Detroit is sending Doug Fister (10-9) to the mound in its final scheduled home game Thursday afternoon against Kansas City and Luis Mendoza (8-9) before the Tigers close the regular season on the road against Minnesota and the Royals. ... Guthrie was 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his previous nine starts all of which were Kansas City wins. ... Falu matched a career high with three hits.