Jeremy Guthrie pitched effectively into the eighth inning and Alex Gordon homered to lead the Kansas City Royals over the Detroit Tigers 2-1 Thursday night for a three-game sweep.
Prince Fielder had three hits for the slumping Tigers, who remained three games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. The teams begin an important three-game series Friday night in Detroit.
Royals rookie Kelvin Herrera worked around a walk and a single in the ninth to earn his first career save, coaxing slugger Miguel Cabrera to ground into a game-ending double play.
Guthrie (3-3), who did not give up a hit to the White Sox until the eighth inning on Aug. 19 in his previous Kauffman Stadium start, held Detroit to one run on 10 hits — nine of them singles. He walked none and struck out three.
Guthrie has made eight starts for the Royals since they acquired him in a July 20 trade with Colorado for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. He is 6-12 overall.
Gordon hit his 10th homer leading off the sixth and extended his hitting streak to eight games.
The Royals loaded the bases with none out in the fifth, but converted that into just one run. Mike Moustakas doubled to start the inning and Jeff Francoeur singled on the 10th pitch to snap an 0-for-19 streak. After Eric Hosmer walked to load the bases, Johnny Giavotella's groundout to shortstop Jhonny Peralta scored Moustakas.
Rick Porcello (9-10) lost his fourth straight start, giving up two runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. He struck out four and walked two.
The Tigers snapped a 17-inning scoreless drought with a run in the eighth when one-out singles by Fielder and Delmon Young chased Guthrie. After reliever Tim Collins struck out pinch-hitter Jeff Baker on three pitches, Peralta delivered a run-scoring single.
NOTES: CF Jarrod Dyson was held out of the Royals' lineup with a sore right shoulder. ... Tigers first base coach Tom Brookens missed his second straight game for personal reasons, but is expected to rejoin the club Friday in Detroit. ... Tigers RHP Doug Fister, who missed his previous start with a groin injury, will return Friday and start against the White Sox. Rookie LHP Drew Smyly, who has made 16 starts, moves to the bullpen with Fister back in the rotation. RHP Jake Peavy will start for Chicago. ... Rookie LHP Will Smith will start for the Royals in the series opener Friday against Minnesota. The Twins will counter with RHP Cole De Vries.