DETROIT — Alcides Escobar homered on the first pitch of the game and made a sparkling catch of Miguel Cabrera’s line drive two innings later, leading the Kansas City Royals to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
Jeremy Guthrie (2-2) allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings for the Royals, who moved back into first place in the AL Central. The Tigers had taken a half-game lead by beating the Royals in a sloppily played series opener Friday night.
Anibal Sanchez (2-4) allowed six runs and nine hits in six innings, his ERA rising to 5.44 on the young season. He came into the game with a 1.40 ERA in eight career starts against the Royals.
Guthrie allowed fewer than three runs for the first time this year.
Escobar belted Sanchez’s first offering well beyond the fence in left field for his first home run of the season. Eric Hosmer added an RBI double that inning, and Kansas City scored two more runs in the second on RBI singles by Escobar and Hosmer.
It was 5-1 in the bottom of the third when Cabrera’s liner was caught by Escobar — the shortstop went diving to his right to make the play.
Omar Infante brought another run home for the Royals with a fourth-inning single.
Detroit’s second run came in the sixth. Victor Martinez led off with a double, and Nick Castellanos sent a two-out drive to right-center that Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson both tried to catch against the wall. The ball hit the wall in between their gloves and caromed back for a triple that made it 6-2.
Guthrie allowed eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts in his longest outing of the season.
Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez had his first day off of the season. Drew Butera replaced him behind the plate and went hitless.
Royals: Closer Greg Holland worked a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation. It was his second appearance since returning from a pectoral injury.
Tigers: Detroit put C Alex Avila on the 15-day DL with a knee injury and said LHP David Price has a mild strain of his right hamstring.
The Royals are expected to send RHP Chris Young (2-0) to the mound against RHP Shane Greene (3-2) in the series finale Sunday night. Young held the Tigers hitless in five innings on May 1 in his only start of the season so far.