The Kansas City Royals look to deal the Detroit Tigers' division title hopes a bit of a blow on Thursday night as they try for their first three-game sweep of this series since 2009.
The Royals had lost five of seven prior to this series, but slugged their way to a 9-8 victory in the opener before getting a gem from starter Bruce Chen to take Wednesday's encounter 1-0.
Chen notched eight scoreless innings of four-hit ball, walking one and striking out four to win his 10th game of the season. Greg Holland stranded two in the ninth to pick up his ninth save.
"(Chen was) changing speeds up there well. He's throwing the off-speeds for strikes and throwing it well with two strikes," Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson said. "You've just got to keep battling with a guy like that."
Eric Hosmer knocked in the only run of the game with a bloop infield-single in the fourth inning that plated Mike Moustakas from third.
"(Hosmer) did an unbelievable job getting me in with two out," said Moustakas, who reached base on a one-out double before moving to third on a ground out. "When you have a guy [like Chen] doing that, one run's good enough."
Anibal Sanchez scattered seven hits without issuing a walk over seven innings in the loss, while Jackson finished with two hits.
Detroit, which trails the Chicago White Sox by three games for first place in the AL Central, had won seven of eight versus the Royals this season but are now in danger of getting swept by the club for the first time since Sept. 8-10, 2009 in Kansas City.
The Tigers' Rick Porcello hopes that doesn't happen and he aims to avoid a fourth straight loss this evening.
The righty did pitch well enough to win his last start, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk in six innings of a 2-1 setback to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Friday. Porcello fell to 9-9 on the season with a 4.60 earned run average.
The 23-year-old won his only other start versus the Royals this season, hurling eight frames of three-run ball at home on May 1. That upped his lifetime mark to 5-2 with a 4.56 ERA versus the Royals.
Jeremy Guthrie makes his eighth start with the Royals since coming over in a trade with the Colorado Rockies. He is 2-3 with a 4.32 ERA since the deal.
The veteran righty won his first two decisions with Kansas City thanks to a combined 15 scoreless innings, but hasn't factored into his last two starts since. He yielded two unearned runs versus the White Sox over 7 2/3 innings on Aug. 19, but was then hammered by the Boston Red Sox on Saturday to the tune of seven runs -- six earned -- on seven hits and two walks in just 2 2/3 frames.
Guthrie was taken off the hook when the Royals rallied for a 10-9 win.
The 33-year-old is 3-3 lifetime versus Detroit with a 4.18 ERA in 11 games (8 starts).