Cabrera continues Triple Crown chase in Kansas City

The Detroit Tigers have locked up the AL Central title, but eyes will still be on their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals, which resumes on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

That is because Detroit's Miguel Cabrera is in position to win baseball's first Triple Crown in 45 years.

Cabrera was key in Monday's division-clinching 6-3 win over the Royals. He had four hits, including his AL-leading 44th homer of the season which put him one blast ahead of the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton.

The 29-year-old already came into the game leading the league in average and RBI and upped those numbers to .329 and 137, respectively.

No player has led their league in all three categories at season's end since Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox in 1967. He hit .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBI that season and won his first and only AL MVP.

Detroit is headed to the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1934-35 thanks in part to a five-run sixth that Gerald Laird capped with a three-run double.

The win also capped the Tigers' rally past the Chicago White Sox, who led the division by three games on Sept. 18 but has gone 2-10 while Detroit has rattled off a victory in nine of 13.

"(Chicago) got up three games about a week and a half ago but we didn't panic," Laird said. "We just played our game. We got some help from other teams and we were able to play good baseball."

Alex Gordon hit a homer for the Royals, who have lost eight of their last nine. Five of those setbacks have come versus the Tigers.

In fact, Detroit is 12-4 versus the Royals this season, but has won just four of seven in Kansas City.

Cabrera is hitting .419 (13-for-31) in the seven games at Kauffman Stadium this year and is 7-for-23 with a pair of homers and four RBI lifetime off of tonight's starter for the Royals, Jeremy Guthrie.

Guthrie is 4-3 with a 3.18 earned run average in 13 starts with Kansas City since coming over in a trade with the Colorado Rockies. He has gone 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three meetings with the Tigers this year.

The 33-year-old righty has not lost since Aug. 3, winning each of his last four decisions but not factoring into the outcome of his past four outings. That includes a game at Detroit last Wednesday in which he allowed four runs on seven hits over seven innings of his club's 5-4 loss.

The back-breaker for Guthrie was a pair of homers allowed to Alex Avila and Austin Jackson in the fourth inning that accounted for three runs.

"The home runs were big swings for them. When I let 'em out of the hand, I didn't expect them to go like they did," Guthrie said. "But both hitters did a real nice job of putting the good part of the bat (on it) and driving it really hard."

Doug Fister will take the hill for the Tigers tonight for the first time since his record-setting performance last Thursday versus the Royals.

Coming off a seven-hit shutout of the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 22, Fister fanned 10 batters over 7 2/3 innings of a no-decision on Thursday. That included a span of nine strikeouts in a row, setting a new AL mark. He also scattered three runs -- two earned -- on five hits in the outing.

"I didn't really have any idea what was going on," Fister said of the record. "Still, it was a humbling experience. I can't put it into words. It's one of those things I can look back on after the season is over. That's when I'll be able to appreciate it."

The 28-year-old righty is 10-9 with a 3.38 ERA in 25 starts this season.

In seven career meetings with the Royals, including six starts, Fister is 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA.