Tigers edge Royals, claim top spot in AL Central

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 | 9:12 p.m. CDT; updated 9:48 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, right, walks back to the mound after giving up a solo home run to Detroit Tigers' Austin Jackson, left, in the fourth inning. The Tigers went on to win 5-4.

DETROIT— 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 the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Wednesday night.

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. Detroit, which started the day tied with the Chicago White Sox atop the AL Central for the first time since Sept. 2, found a way to break through the eighth, though.

It looked as if the Royals were going to keep the score tied in the eighth when Peralta hit a grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar. Dirks, though, slid so late and hard that second baseman Irving Falu didn't attempt a throw, allowing pinch-runner Don Kelly to score.

Dirks was swarmed by teammates in the dugout to celebrate the gritty, clean play he made.

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.

Alex Avila hit a two-run home run, 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 home run behind Texas' Josh Hamilton. Baseball hasn't had a player lead a league in all three categories since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

The Tigers have won six of nine games on their final 10-game homestand and 32 of their last 43 games at Comerica Park. They had, however, lost 11 straight one-run games since beating Toronto 3-2 on Aug. 23.

Kansas City has lost four straight since winning four in a row, including two against the White Sox.

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 home run in the fourth inning gave the Royals a three-run lead.

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