Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder each hit an RBI single in the eighth inning to lift the Detroit Tigers over the Kansas City Royals, 3-1, in the middle portion of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Ramon Santiago knocked in the other run for Detroit, while Octavio Dotel (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief. Jose Valverde shut the door in the ninth for his second save of the season.
Drew Smyly made his second career start and allowed an unearned run on seven hits and a walk for the Tigers, who earned their third straight win.
Bruce Chen (0-1) gave up two runs on six hits through seven-plus innings to take the loss. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk in the Royals' sixth consecutive loss.
Chen had retired the previous 13 batters he faced before Andy Dirks led off the eighth inning with a base hit.
Greg Holland then entered in relief and fanned Austin Jackson before allowing three straight singles to Brennan Boesch, Cabrera and Fielder, scoring Dirks and Boesch for a 3-1 Tigers lead.
Jeff Francoeur hit a two-out triple off Joaquin Benoit in the bottom of the eighth when Boesch made a diving miss of a sinking liner to right field, but Mike Moustakas went down swinging to end the inning.
Valverde then brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth after allowing a one-out walk to Brayan Pena. But he struck out Alcides Escobar before inducing an Alex Gordon grounder to first to end the game.
Detroit struck first in the second inning after Delmon Young led off the frame with a base hit and Ryan Raburn followed two batters later with a double down the third-base line to place runners on second and third.
Santiago stepped up next and lifted a sacrifice fly to right field that brought home Young, but that would be all the Tigers would get as Dirks hit a pop up behind home plate to strand Raburn.
Kansas City answered with a run in the third inning when Escobar hit a hard liner back at Smyly that bounced off the pitcher's back. Smyly managed to recover and field the ball, but his throw to first bounced well short of the bag and went wide to the right, allowing Escobar to moved to second on the error.
Gordon followed with a base hit into center field to score Escobar.
Kansas City then stranded a man in scoring position in the fourth and sixth and a man at third in the seventh.
Jackson had reached base safely in Detroit's first 10 games of the season but went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Tuesday to snap the streak...Detroit has won 12 of the last 17 games against Kansas City...The Royals went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.