Royals seek to salvage finale with Tigers

( - The Kansas City Royals' inability to beat the Detroit Tigers likely will cost them a chance at the American League Central title.

However, a failure to salvage Sunday's finale of a three-game set between the rivals could also knock them out of the playoff picture for the time being.

In dropping the first two games of this series, the Royals have fallen 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers. They are also holding just a slim half- game edge over Seattle for the second wild card spot in the AL.

Kansas City has no one but itself to blame. Detroit is 13-5 versus the Royals this season, winning eight of nine at Kauffman Stadium.

After getting routed in Friday's opener, the Royals didn't get the breaks in Saturday's 3-2 loss.

Kansas City appeared to take the lead in the sixth inning as Salvador Perez scored from third base when Detroit's Ian Kinsler threw the ball into the outfield trying to double off Eric Hosmer at second on Omar Infante's line out.

Perez raced home and crossed the plate to snap a 1-1 tie, igniting the home crowd, but it was eventually ruled that Perez did not tag up before going home.

The play was not reviewable, but the umpires still reversed the initial safe call on Perez after conferring, taking the run off the board, and Detroit followed with a two-run seventh inning to go ahead.

"The only thing we can do is keep playing hard," said Perez following his club's sixth loss in nine games.

Max Scherzer got the win for Detroit, his 17th of the campaign, as he hurled seven innings of one-run ball.

The Tigers, who got a solo homer from Torii Hunter, have won six of eight.

"This is a playoff series," said Scherzer. "We gotta win, they gotta win. This is what it is like in the playoffs."

Rick Porcello has been solid this season against the Royals, a trend he'll try to continue with today's start.

Porcello is 2-1 with a 2.18 earned run average in three meetings this season with Kansas City, holding them to five runs and a .227 batting average over 20 2/3 innings. He put together a decent outing against them on Sept. 10, but dropped a 3-0 decision to lose for a third straight start despite yielding just two runs and fanning seven over 6 2/3 innings.

The right-handed then did not factor into the outcome of Tuesday's meeting with Minnesota, again yielding two runs but this time over eight innings with five strikeouts.

Porcello is 15-11 on the year with a 3.19 ERA.

Getting the call for the Royals will be Jeremy Guthrie, who would like to forget the last time he faced Detroit. That outing on Sept. 8 saw Guthrie yield eight runs -- six earned -- on 10 hits over a mere 2 2/3 innings.

The right-hander is 1-2 in three starts against the Tigers this season with a 10.13 ERA.

Guthrie did bounce back brilliantly last Saturday to beat Boston, yielding one unearned run and three hits over eight innings. That evened his season record at 11-11 with a 4.35 ERA.

"It was obviously a good bounce-back outing after the last one," said Guthrie.