Tigers Down Royals 6-2

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DETROIT — In the midst of a heated pennant race, the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 6-2 on Monday night at Comerica Park.

The Tigers (81-72, 47-31 home) are currently one game back of the first-place Chicago White Sox in the A.L. Central.

Detroit drew first blood with slugger Prince Fielder’s solo HR in the second inning, his 28th of the season. Catcher Alex Avila’s RBI double extended the lead to 2-0.

A.L. MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander (16-8, 2.72 ERA) pitched a beauty, allowing two runs on nine hits in 8 innings, striking out eight and walking none.

Left fielder Alex Gordon blasted a solo shot to left in the fourth inning to pull the Royals (70-83, 34-41 away) within one, but that’s all Kansas City could muster against Verlander.

Royals starter Luke Hochevar (8-15, 5.43 ERA) earned the loss, surrendering six runs on 12 hits in 7 1/3 innings, fanning five and walking one.

An RBI double by Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson turned into two runs after a throwing error by Royals right fielder Jeff Francouer. RF Andy Dirks gave the Tigers a 5-1 lead on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.

Lefty Bruce Chen (11-12, 5.22 ERA) takes the mound against Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 4.55 ERA) for game two on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

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