KANSAS CITY (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Four Detroit Tigers had two hits each as they salvaged the final game of the three-game set with the Royals with a 4-1 win today in Kansas City, Mo.
Brayan Pena drove in a pair of run on sacrifice flies and Miguel Cabrera and Andy Dirks both hit solo home runs.
Dirks had the go-ahead run in the fifth when he hit a 1-0 pitch to center and just out of the reach of centerfielder Jarrod Dyson and over the wall for a one-out solo home run, Dirks' seventh blast of the season.
Doug Fister threw six innings for the win, allowing an earned run on six hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out five on 103 pitches.
Joaquin Benoit ran into a bit of unluckiness in the ninth when the leadoff hiter, Mike Moustakas, hit a grounder off first base for a single. But Miguel Tejada grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Alcides Escobar then grounded out to short to end the game and secure Benoit's ninth save in as many tries.
Cabrera socked his 31st home run of the season with a solo shot to left with two outs in the first inning. It was Cabrera's 96th RBI of the year.
Tejada answered in the second inning with a one-out solo home run to left-center to tie the game.
Cabrera made a bid for another extra-base hit to begin the fourth with a shot to the wall in left-center by Jarrod Dyson tracked it down for the first out of the inning.
Fister (8-5) left at least one runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings he worked. In the sixth, Lorenzo Cain reached on a one-out single and, with two outs, advanced to second on a wild pitch. Tejada then walked, putting the tying run on base, but Fister forced Alcides Escobar to ground out to short on a nice barehand play by Jhonny Peralta to end the threat.
Left-hander Drew Smyly replaced Fister on the mound in the seventh because the Royals' three scheduled hitters were all lefties. Smyly got Dyson to strike out looking on the 12th pitch of the at bat. Alex Gordon then grounded out to secong before Smyly appeared to strike out Eric Hosmer swinging, but the home plate umpire ruled Hosmer foul tipped the ball. On the next pitch, Smyly got Hosmer swinging.
Bruce Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 eighth that included two strikeouts.
In the seventh, the Tigers got something brewing against starter James Shields. After Prince Fielder (two hits) and Victor Martinez (two hits) opened the inning with singles, Peralta hit a hard grounder off of the back of Shields' leg and the pitcher was unable to get the ball to first, loading the bases.
After Dirks struck out, Brayan Pena hit a sacrifice fly to center, giving the Tigers a two-run lead. But after Ramon Santiago singled to reload the bases, Austin Jackson fanned for the third time in the game to end the threat.
In the ninth, Detroit tacked on another run. Peralta (two hits) hit a one-out double down the rightfield line off Kelvin Herrera. Dirks then singled him over the third and Pena once again came through with a sacrifice fly to left.
Shields (4-7) went seven innings, giving up three earned runs on nine hits while striking out seven.
BY KIRKLAND CRAWFORD - DETROIT FREE PRESS