Stephanie McMahon Q&A:

Tigers 3, Royals 2

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Alex Avila drove in all three Detroit runs with a pair of home runs Sunday, his second breaking a 2-2 tie in the eighth and giving the Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

The victory reduced Detroit's magic number for clinching the American League Central to nine, pending the outcome of second-place Cleveland's game. Kansas City entered the game 3 1/2 back in the race for the second wild-card spot.

Avila's one-out home run, his 11th, came on a 1-1 pitch by Jeremy Guthrie (14-11) and marked the 10th one-run game in a season's series won by the Royals, 10-9.

Alcides Escobar scored the tying run with two out in the eighth, coming home from third on a wild pitch with catcher Avila colliding with batter Eric Hosmer and falling while trying to retrieve the ball near the first-base foul line. Escobar doubled leading off against reliever Drew Smyly (6-0) and stole third while Emilio Bonifacio was striking out for the second out.

The run denied Max Scherzer his 20th victory in his fourth try. Scherzer struck out 12 and allowed five hits in his seven innings.

Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for his 20th save for the Tigers.

Miguel Cabrera's injuries, which have slowed him to a trot, cost the Tigers at least one run in the fifth. He singled leading off the inning and hobbled to third on a double by Prince Fielder. But Victor Martinez and Andy Dirks hit slow bouncers to first and Cabrera had to stay at third. Omar Infante grounded out to end the inning.

Escobar bobbled a potential double-play grounder in the bottom of the second and it cost Kansas City an out and a run because Avila followed with his 10th home run of the season, a blow that just carried over the fence in left center and gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Alex Gordon cut Detroit's lead in half when he led off the top of the fourth with his 20th home run of the season, yanking a 2-0 pitch down the right-field line.

NOTES: SS Jose Iglesias of Detroit was held out of Sunday's starting lineup by manager Jim Leyland to give his shin splints a rest. ... Cabrera entered Sunday 5-for-28 (.179) in Detroit's last 10 games, one of which he did not play, plus one first-inning ejection, with no home runs and three RBIs. Detroit had a 4-6 record in those games. ... Emilio Bonifacio was picked off first by Scherzer in the first inning, the third straight game in which the Royals' second baseman has been picked off first by Tigers pitchers.
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