Time might be running out on the Kansas City Royals' chances of winning the American League Central, but a win over Detroit on Sunday afternoon at least extends them into the final week of the season.
Kansas City managed one game in the three-game set over the weekend with a 5-2 triumph on Sunday. The win brings the Royals to back within 1.5 games of the Tigers in the AL Central. But, more importantly now might be the Wildcard.
Kansas City trails Oakland by just half a game for home field advantage in the play-in round of the MLB playoffs. The Royals lead Seattle by 1.5 games for the last playoff spot.
Jeremy Guthrie helped his team defend Kauffman Stadium with 5.1 innings of pretty solid work. Guthrie allowed just two runs (only one earned) in those 5.1 innings and struck out two. He left the game with a 4-2 lead and handed it over to that dominant Kansas City bullpen, which took care of the rest.
The Royals struck first with a run in each of the first two innings against Detroit starter Rick Porcello. Billy Butler singled in a run in the first, while Alcides Escobar knocked home another in the very next frame to double the lead. Detroit didn't roll over though.
The Tigers scored in back-to-back innings themselves to get the score back even. Ian Kinsler injected his side with some life in the third when he lifted a solo shot to left field. Austin Romine's sacrifice fly in the fourth made it 2-2.
That would be the last time Detroit scored on the afternoon. The trio that has been dominating opponent lineups all year didn't do much differently on Sunday. Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to throw the last 3.2 innings - giving up just one hit while striking out five. The three didn't walk a batter. And with their bullpen doing its thing, KC's bats came through again.
Nori Aoki came up with the biggest hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out triple that generated two runs. Aoki was stranded at third, but the damage had been done. Alex Gordon tacked on an RBI double in the seventh to make it 5-2, but Detroit never came close to staging a comeback against the stingy KC 'pen.
Greg Holland's 43rd save of the season came on just nine pitches - eight for strikes. Holland also fanned two in the preservation.