Tigers regain 1st place in AL Central with win over Royals

Teams split series 2-2

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Detroit Tigers won their second straight game over the Kansas City Royals Sunday and took back first place in the American League Central Division. With the series split, Detroit is still undefeated in series against division opponents.

Anibal Sanchez picked up his 2nd win of the year in the 6-4 victory.

For the second straight game, the Tigers got out to an early lead. Yoenis Cespedes hit a one-out double off the wall in left field and scored on a bloop single to left field by Alex Avila.

Detroit carried a 1-0 lead through the 3rd inning, as Sanchez retired the entire Kansas City lineup in order the first time through. Sanchez threw just 39 pitches (27 strikes) and struck out one batter through three innings.

Avila struck again in the top of the 4th, coming to bat with the bases loaded. He drilled a Guthrie offering into right center and ended up at 2nd base, scoring all three runs thanks to a fielding error by Paulo Orlando. Avila was credited with a single and two RBI, with the 3rd run scoring on the error.

Miguel Cabrera got in on the fun in the 5th, ripping a line drive home run into the bullpen in left field for his 6th home run of the season. The blast gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead.

Guthrie's afternoon ended after the 6th. He allowed six earned runs on 11 hits and struck out one.

Sanchez finally allowed his first base runner in the bottom of the 6th, as Orlando led off with a single to center field. Kansas City got on the board in the 7th with a sacrifice fly from Erik Kratz. Sanchez allowed another run on an Omar Infante single before getting out of the inning.

He finished with 7.1 innings pitched, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk. He struck out four batters and threw 72 of his 104 pitches for strikes. Sanchez's 3rd earned run scored with Tom Gorzelanny on the mound in the 8th.

Kansas City bounced Sanchez with a one-out single in the 8th, then added a double and a single off of Gorzelanny to cut the lead to 6-4 heading into the 9th.

After sitting the first three games of the series in the bullpen, Joakim Soria came in for the final inning to close out his old team.

On Sunday, Soria got two groundouts and a lineout to finish off the Royals in order and earn his 10th save. He saved 160 games for Kansas City from 2007-11.

Cabrera finished the game with three hits and two RBI. Avila and Cespedes each added two hits.

J.D. Martinez went 0-4 with a pair of strikeouts. He's hitless in his last 14 at-bats with 10 strikeouts.

After earning the split, the Tigers get their first day off since April 15 to start the week. They'll begin a three-game series in Chicago on Tuesday, with Shane Greene battling White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija.