Tigers keep pace in AL Central with 5-4 win over Royals

Leon Halip - Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers remain in first place in the American League Central after a tight 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Andy Dirks had two base hits in the Detroit Tigers win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, but it was his hard slide into second base in the bottom of the eighth inning to break up a potential double play and allow the winning run to score that proved the most crucial play of the game. At the very least, the win keeps the Tigers tied for the American League Central lead with the Chicago White Sox.

Tigers starter Rick Porcello only made it through four innings, as the Royals roughed him up for seven hits and four runs. Jeremy Guthrie was able to gut out seven innings for the Royals, allowing four runs on seven hits.

The Tigers got on the board first with three straight hits to lead off the second inning. The Royals answered in the top of the third with three runs of their own. Irving Falu, David Lough and Alex Gordon all hit doubles in the inning. For Gordon, it was his 50th double of the season. He added another in the fifth to make it 51, giving him the Major League lead. Jeff Francouer homered in the fourth to make it 4-1, but the Tigers tied it up in the bottom half on home runs by Alex Avila and Austin Jackson.

The Tigers were able to break the stalemate in the bottom of the eighth when Delmon Young and Dirks singled. Jhonny Peralta then grounded a potential inning-ending double play ball to third base, but Dirks was able to break it up with a great take out slide. Pinch-runner Don Kelly was able to score to give the Tigers a 5-4 edge.

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