The Kansas City Royals dropped another close game to Detroit Thursday afternoon, losing, 5-4, on a walk-off groundout from the Tigers' Alex Avila. The Royals (70-86) came close, again, to hurting the Tigers' AL Central pennant chances in their last 2012 visit to the Motor City, yet Kansas City leaves town without a win in the four-game set.
Detroit's offense plated runs early off Royals starter Luis Mendoza. Prince Fielder and Delmon Young knocked in runs in the first, and the damage might have been greater had Fielder not been thrown out at home trying to score on an Andy Dirks single. Quintin Berry drove in two more runs with a second-inning triple. Mendoza (8-9, 4.36) settled down after the second, holding the Tigers (84-72) to two singles in five more innings of work.
Doug Fister was brilliant for seven innings, shutting out the Royals and striking out 10. Fister tired in the eighth and let Kansas City back into the game. Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur led off the inning with back-to-back doubles, scoring Moustakas. A Johnny Giavotella groundout drove in Francoeur, and then Tony Abreu drove in David Lough with a single before Phil Coke relieved Fister and got the Tigers out of the inning.
A 4-3 Detroit lead entering the ninth was erased by a Billy Butler home run off Joaquin Benoit. The Tigers responded with a Prince Fielder double to lead off the home ninth; then an intentional walk, fielder's choice and a Moustakas error set the table for Avila to drive in pinch-runner Don Kelly with a groundout to first.