A masterful start by Luis Mendoza (8-10) was spoiled as the Royals weren't able to manage a run on the evening. The righty struck out six and allowed just one run over seven innings of work. He allowed the game's only run when Austin Jackson doubled home Omar Infante in the fifth inning.
The Tigers (88-74) claimed the win after already clinching the American League Central title. Luis Marte (1-0) got the win in 3-1/3 innings of relief, and Detroit prepares to play the A.L. West champion Oakland Athletics in the first round of the playoffs.
The Royals finish 2012 72-90, just one game better than the team's 2011 record. Designated hitter Billy Butler closes the season as the team's triple crown winner, posting the Royals' best batting average, home run total, and RBI total. Mendoza held the best ERA among Kansas City pitchers at 4.23.