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Red-hot Royals go for rare sweep of Tigers
(SportsNetwork.com) - With a 10-game winning streak ongoing, the Kansas City Royals have secured themselves of leaving Detroit in first place in the AL Central.
However, the Royals still have a chance to post their first four-game sweep in the Motor City since 1984, a feat they'll look to accomplish on Thursday afternoon in the finale of this set with the slumping Tigers.
Kansas City has won the first three contests of this series to move 1 1/2 games ahead of Detroit in the division standings and post their first 10-game win streak since a run of 14 in a row from July 23-Aug. 5, 1994.
The Royals last swept the Tigers in a four-game set in Detroit 10 years earlier in August of 1984.
After plating 11 runs in each of the first two games of this series, the Royals won a tight 2-1 encounter on Wednesday as Jeremy Guthrie threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball while tying a season-high with nine strikeouts.
"This could be the best game (Guthrie) has thrown all year," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "He just pitched a beautiful game."
Omar Infante connected on a solo home run and Alex Gordon drove in a run for the Royals, while Greg Holland worked around a leadoff base hit to secure the win and capture his AL-leading 21st save of the season.
Drew Smyly was the tough-luck loser for Detroit after tossing seven-plus innings and yielding two runs on seven hits while fanning six.
J.D. Martinez's solo shot was the lone run for the Tigers, who have dropped three straight and 12 of their last 17 contests.
"Every one of us has gone through losing streaks," said Tigers catcher Alex Avila. "It's frustrating because we're not playing well but it's nothing new to us."
Taking the mound today for the Royals is left-hander Danny Duffy, who has logged a scoreless outing in two of his last three starts.
That stretch includes Saturday's 9-1 win over the Chicago White Sox as he scattered five hits and a walk over seven innings while striking out nine to match a career high.
Duffy improved to 4-5 with a 2.83 earned run average in 14 games this year, including eight starts.
"The important thing he was doing in the first part of the game was he was getting ahead of the count and pitching off of that," Yost said of Duffy. "He just did a great job."
The 25-year-old is just 1-4 with a 3.89 ERA in seven previous meetings with Detroit, losing to the Tigers at home on May 3. He made a spot start on that day and struggled over four innings while on a pitch count, giving up one run but on two hits and four walks.
Detroit turns to Anibal Sanchez, who seeks a fourth straight winning decision this afternoon.
The 30-year-old righty recorded his first decision in four starts on Saturday in a 12-9 victory over Minnesota. Sanchez was charged with three runs on four hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings.
He has not lost since April 21 and is 3-2 on the year with a 2.44 ERA.
Sanchez is just above .500 for his career against the Royals at 3-2 despite an eye-popping 0.99 ERA in the five starts. He has limited Kansas City to four runs and struck out 24 over 36 1/3 innings.
06/19 10:05:47 ET