DETROIT -- Prince Fielder is letting his bat do most of his talking these days.
Fielder hit a two-run homer in the first inning on Thursday night, wiping out a 1-0 Kansas City lead and starting the Detroit Tigers on their way to a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a five-game series.
Kansas City lost its third game in a row and Detroit won its second straight after dropping four of five.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez (11-7) gave up one run and three hits in the first inning but shut out the Royals on four hits in the next 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Fielder's 18th home run of the season came off a 1-0 curveball from Jeremy Guthrie (12-9), who also gave up two runs in the fifth.
"That curveball to Fielder wasn't a horrible pitch," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
Fielder wasn't immediately available for comment. It has come to light in the past two days that he is divorcing his wife, Chanel, whom he married in 2005 and with whom he has two sons. Court records available from the Orange County, Fla., Clerk's Office show the papers were filed May 28.
Detroit's Brayan Pena singled in the fifth and was forced at second on a sacrifice attempt by Jose Iglesias. Andy Dirks then doubled, putting runners on second and third with one out. Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera followed with run-scoring singles. Cabrera boosted his RBI total to 115 for the season.
"They've got a lineup that's stacked with excellent offensive players," Yost said. "Cabrera isn't one of the best -- he's absolutely the best.
"They're deadly one through six. You can't pitch around them, but you have to pitch them very carefully."
Dirks was hitting .242 entering the game and went 4-for-4 in the leadoff spot as manager Jim Leyland gave Austin Jackson the day off except for defensive duty in the top of the ninth. Jackson was 4-for-23 lifetime against Guthrie and Dirks was 5-for-16 against the Royals' starter.
"It was something I've been working on, worked on and will keep working on," Dirks said of some adjustments he has made to his swing. "It's rhythm and things I used to do and got away from.
"Sometimes you get away from your natural swing and sometimes it's hard to get back to it. I'm a 'feel' guy in my swing. And I'm kind of stubborn about thinking and figuring out on my own."
Sanchez gave up three singles in the first inning, with Alex Gordon driving in the run, but Billy Butler hit into a double play to limit the damage. Eric Hosmer singled with one out in the eighth to chase Sanchez.
In the eighth, rookie reliever Bruce Rondon got two quick outs to quiet the Royals and Joaquin Benoit faced four batters to pick up his 16th save in 16 tries. Benoit threw 13 pitches after getting five outs on Wednesday afternoon.
NOTES: Yost is hopeful that 3B Mike Moustakas, who hasn't played since Monday because of a sore left calf, will be able to play at some point during the series. "Moose is getting better," Yost said. "He's still day to day." ... Kansas City designated INF Elliot Johnson for assignment to make room for newly acquired INF/OF Emilio Bonifacio, who started at third base. ... Detroit will bring up LHP Jose Alvarez to pitch the second game of Friday's doubleheader, and Kansas City will call up LHP Danny Duffy to work the first game. RHP Justin Verlander will start the opener for the Tigers. RHP James Shields will pitch the nightcap for the Royals. ... Cabrera, who has become the slowest runner in baseball since an abdominal injury in late July, grounded into only his second double play since returning to the lineup on a regular basis Aug. 5.