Royals lose again to first-place Tigers 5-4
DETROIT (AP) — The Kansas City Royals may have another chance next week to spoil Detroit's bid for a second straight AL Central title.
They sure didn't make the most of this week's opportunity.
Doug Fister set an AL record by striking out nine straight batters and the Tigers increased their lead in the division, beating Kansas City 5-4 Thursday on Alex Avila's grounder in the ninth inning. The Royals lost four straight at Comerica Park and made five errors in the finale.
The Tigers opened a two-game edge over the second-place Chicago White Sox, who lost 3-2 at home to Tampa Bay. Detroit plays a three-game series at Minnesota before finishing up with three games in Kansas City.
Fister struck out Salvador Perez to end the top of the fourth, starting a streak that didn't end until Perez grounded out to the shortstop on a two-strike pitch in the seventh.
Fister came within one strikeout of matching Tom Seaver's major league record of 10 in a row.
"His stuff was unbelievable," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Tremendous movement on his two-seam (fastball). Tremendous movement on his slider. We couldn't get to it."
But the Tigers blew a 4-0 lead after seven innings, and Joaquin Benoit (5-3) allowed a solo homer by Billy Butler to tie it in the ninth.
Prince Fielder led off the Detroit ninth with a chopper that went past the mound and charging shortstop Tony Abreu. The hefty slugger made it all the way to second for a double on a ball that only ended up a few feet beyond the infield.
Delmon Young was intentionally walked, and pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago bunted into a forceout at third, leaving runners at first and second. Kelvin Herrera replaced Tim Collins (5-4) on the mound and got Jhonny Peralta to hit what looked like a potential double-play grounder to third, but Mike Moustakas misplayed it for his third error of the game.
Avila hit a full-count pitch to first. Brayan Pena made a diving stop and touched the bag, but had no play at the plate.
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