KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Detroit Free Press) –– The Detroit Tigers got just enough offense tonight to improve to 5-0 at Kauffman Stadium this season.
The Tigers were outhit, 11-5, but went on to beat the Royals, 2-1. The Tigers had pounded out 19 hits in a 16-4 win over the Royals on Thursday night.
The Tigers, leading 2-1, got a bit of a lucky break in the eighth inning after Joba Chamberlain came in to replace Anibal Sanchez.
Nori Aoki led off with a single. As Aoki attempted to go to second, Lorenzo Cain interfered with Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday's throw to second. The throw was offline and went into the outfield. Instead of Aoki advancing to third, Cain was called out and Aoki was sent back to first. The fans booed after every play the rest of the inning. Eric Hosmer singled, but Salvador Perez flied out to center and Billy Butler lined out to center.
Sanchez gave up eight hits, no walks and one earned run over seven innings with three strikeouts.
Former Tiger Omar Infante had a one-out single against Joe Nathan in the ninth inning for the Royals. Infante stole second before Nathan gave up a walk to Jarrod Dyson. Nathan fell behind 2-0 before Alcides Escobar struck out swinging at a slider. Nori Aoki grounded out to first base to end the game.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single from Ian Kinsler, who will replace teammate Victor Martinez on the American League roster for Tuesday's All-Star Game in Minneapolis. Austin Jackson had led off the game with a double and scored on Kinsler's ground ball single to center.
Martinez missed his sixth consecutive game with right side soreness and will likely miss the remaining two games of the series in hopes he'll be ready to return to the lineup following the All-Star break.
The Royals answered in the bottom of the first inning with two outs. Hosmer doubled and came home on an RBI single by Perez, who entered the game 0-for-12 lifetime against Sanchez.
An 11-pitch at-bat ended with a single for Rajai Davis to start the third inning and he came home to score on Miguel Cabrera's sac fly, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Davis fouled off eight pitches in his at-bat before hitting a soft line drive to left.
Cabrera moved into a tie for the AL lead in RBIs (74) with Nelson Cruz of the Orioles.
The Tigers had runners on second and third with one out in the top of the seventh but failed to score.
Nick Castellanos was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh, ending the night for Kansas City lefty Danny Duffy. Right-hander Kelvin Herrera replaced Duffy and hit Eugenio Suarez with a pitch. Bryan Holaday's sac bunt put runners on second and third, but the Tigers failed to capitalize. Rajai Davis hit into a fielder's choice to third base and Nick Castellanos was tagged out trying to score. Jackson, who was 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats, struck out looking.
The Royals failed to capitalize with a runner at third and one out in the bottom of the seventh. Mike Moustakas led off with a double to left-center. Tigers shortstop Eugenio Suarez handled three consecutive grounders to get the Tigers out of the jam. Moustakas advanced to third on a ground out by Infante. Suarez made a dazzling play to get the second out, scooping up a hard hit ball by Dyson off the ground with his glove and then swiveling around to make the throw to first. Escobar then grounded out to short.