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Tigers top KC to boost AL Central lead

September 21, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Joe Nathan and the Detroit Tigers escaped a ninth-inning jam to hold off the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in Major League Baseball on Saturday and boost their AL Central lead.

The Tigers increased its edge to 2 1/2 games over the Royals, which stayed 1/2 a game ahead of Seattle for the second wild-card spot after the Mariners slumped to a 10-1 defeat at Houston Astros.

Detroit, seeking its fourth straight division title, has won 13 of 18 against the Royals this year, including eight of nine at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals put two runners on against Tigers’ closer Nathan, but he retired Nori Aoki and pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez on grounders for his 33th save in 40 tries.

Pinch-hitter Tyler Collins and Rajai Davis hit RBI singles in the seventh.

Torii Hunter opened the Tigers’ fourth with his 17th home run. He also singled in the sixth for his sixth straight multi-hit game, the longest streak of his career.

Alcides Escobar hit an RBI single in the fifth and Eric Hosmer singled home a run in the eighth for the Royals.

At Oakland, Califonia, Jerome Williams beat the Athletics for the third time this season with three different teams, and Oakland missed an opportunity to extend its lead in the AL wild-card race with a 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Freddy Galvis hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning against Dan Otero. Marlon Byrd added an RBI single in the eighth.

The A’s remained a half-game ahead of Kansas City for the top wild-card spot.

The Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays also kept alive its AL wildcard hopes with victories Saturday.

Yan Gomes homered and drove in four runs to help Cleveland beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3 and close to 3 1/2 games of the second wild-card spot, while Jose Bautista’s homer helped the Toronto Blue Jays end a season-worst six-game streak to beat the Yankees 6-3.

In the NL, Chris Coghlan hit two homers, including the go-ahead two-run drive off Brian Wilson in the eighth inning, and the Chicago Cubs rallied to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7.

The Dodgers were looking to build on a 3 1/2-game lead over San Francisco in the NL West after clinching a playoff spot for the fifth time in nine years on Friday.

Instead Los Angeles blew a five-run lead and wasted a pair of homers and five RBIs by Adrian Gonzalez.

The Dodgers were up 7-2 in the seventh, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.

J.P. Howell gave up an RBI single to Anthony Rizzo and a three-run homer to Arismendy Alcantara, making it a one-run game.

On the back of eight innings of brilliant pitching by Andrew Cashner, the San Diego Padres beat San Francisco 3-2 to keep the Giants from gaining ground on the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Giants remain 3 1/2 games behind the Dodgers and stay one game ahead of Pittsburgh in the race for the top wild-card spot.

Elian Herrera sprinted home on Logan Schafer’s sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 to tighten the race for the second National League wild-card spot.

The Brewers pulled within 3 1/2 games of the Pirates after winning for just the second time in their last 13 road games.

Zach Duke picked up the victory after getting the final out of the eighth inning. Francisco Rodriguez worked a perfect ninth for his 43rd save of the season and 347th of his career, moving him into a tie with Randy Myers for 10th on the all-time list.

In other games, the Baltimore Orioles beat the Arizona Boston Red Sox 7-2, the Tampa Bay Rays had a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox and the New York Mets edged the slumping Atlanta Braves 4-2.

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