Final Score: Detroit 2, Kansas City 1
Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - J.D. Martinez hit the go-ahead solo home run in the fourth inning, and Detroit held on to post a 2-1 victory over the Royals, snapping their 10-game win streak in Thursday's finale of a four-game series.
Miguel Cabrera drove in the other run for the Tigers, who avoided a sweep and moved a half-game back of their foes for first place in the AL Central.
"It's a step," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of his club, which has gone just 6-11 in June. "It's a baby step, but in the right direction."
Anibal Sanchez (4-2) scattered five hits and one run over seven strong innings. Joba Chamberlain tossed a scoreless eighth and Joe Nathan recorded his 14th save by striking out the side in the ninth.
Billy Butler doubled twice and knocked in the lone run for the Royals, who hadn't tasted defeat since June 6 at home against the Yankees.
Danny Duffy (4-6) also worked seven innings, but took the loss despite letting up just two runs on three hits with five strikeouts.
Behind 1-0 after 3 1/2 innings, the hosts moved ahead to stay in the fourth. Austin Jackson singled and scored when Cabrera followed with double. Victor Martinez lined into a double play, then a blast from J.D. Martinez gave the Tigers a 2-1 edge.
Sanchez stranded runners on second and third in the fifth by grounding out Norichika Aoki, then was unscathed in the sixth after Butler's two-out double. He exited after turning aside the Royals in the seventh.
Aoki singled against Chamberlain to start the eighth but was erased when Eric Hosmer grounded into a double play. Nathan fanned Butler, Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain to preserve the one-run margin.
"That looked like the Joe Nathan I've faced for years," Butler said. "The one with a few hundred saves and all those All-Star games."
Things looked brighter for the visitors early on, as Aoki doubled to start the game and then came in on a two-out double from Butler.
Both teams are in action on Friday, with Detroit heading to Cleveland to start a nine-game trip and Kansas City returning home to welcome Seattle for the commencement of a nine-game residency ... Sanchez produced the first outing by a Tigers pitcher of at least seven innings with no strikeouts since Doug Fister on Aug. 3, 2011 ... The Royals haven't swept a four-game series in Detroit since Aug 3-5, 1984.
06/19 18:39:40 ET
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