KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Nori Aoki hit a two-run triple, helping Jeremy Guthrie and the Kansas City Royals hold their AL wild-card spot by beating the Detroit Tigers 5-2 Sunday.
The Royals avoided a three-game sweep and moved within 1 1/2 games of the AL Central-leading Tigers . Kansas City began the day with a half-game edge over Seattle for the second wild-card spot.
Aoki’s triple in the fourth scored Omar Infante and Mike Moustakas to break a 2-all tie and end the day for Rick Porcello .
Porcello (15-12) is 0-4 in his past five starts. He yielded four runs on nine hits and two walks in 3 1-3 innings.
Guthrie (12-11) pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the second and was pulled after 81 pitches and 5 1-3 innings, yielding one earned run.
The Royals’ dominant relieving trio of Kelvin Herrera , Wade Davis and Greg Holland held the Tigers scoreless after Guthrie exited.
Davis struck out two, bringing his strikeout total to 103, tying a Royals’ record for a reliever. Holland threw a perfect ninth to log his 43rd save in 45 chances, and his first since Sept. 3 .
Alex Gordon snapped an 0-for-14 slump with a RBI double in the seventh to pad the Royals’ lead.
Ian Kinsler homered, his 16th, to lead off the third for the Tigers .
J.D. Martinez scored in the fourth on an error by Moustakas at third base. Moustakas has committed six errors in the past 12 games.
Tigers : RHP Anibal Sanchez (right pectoral strain) pitched a three-inning simulated game. If he feels good Monday, he would likely be activated this week with a role to be determined.
Royals : LHP Danny Duffy, who has missed his previous two starts with a sore shoulder, will return to the rotation Monday, starting at Cleveland .
Tigers : Rookie LHP Kyle Lobstein , who has walked 11 and struck out 18 in 27 2-3 innings, will start the series opener at home against the White Sox on Monday night.
Royals : Kansas City will need to rally quickly when it plays in Cleveland on Monday. The teams will resume their game that was suspended by rain Aug. 31 in Kansas City , with the Indians leading 4-2 going to the bottom of the 10th. The Royals and Cleveland will then play their regularly scheduled game.