DETROIT – Rookie Drew Smyly struck out a career-high 10 in six impressive innings and Delmon Young homered as the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Friday night.
The win got the Tigers (42-42) back to .500 for the first time since May 15. They had failed the last eight times when needing one win to reach the mark.
Smyly (4-3) allowed two runs on six hits. Smyly didn't walk a batter. Four Detroit relievers finished, with Jose Valverde pitching the ninth for his 16th save in 19 tries.
Jonathan Sanchez (1-5) had his winless streak extend to 10 starts, allowing four runs in 5 2-3 innings. He has not won since beating the Los Angeles Angels on April 8.
The Tigers broke the scoreless tie in the third, when Ramon Santiago and Austin Jackson singled before coming home on Quintin Berry's fourth triple.
Smyly only allowed one hit through four innings, but the Royals tied it in the fifth. With one out, Mike Moustakas bounced a ground-rule double over the 420-foot sign in center field, and Smyly appeared in pain after the pitch. He was checked by trainer Kevin Rand, but stayed in the game.
The next batter lined out, but Brayan Pena made it 2-1 with a double and Jason Bourgeois tied the game with a run-scoring single. The Royals put runners on second and third in the sixth, but Smyly got Moustakas to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Young hit a 3-1 pitch deep over the bullpens in left for his eighth homer — his second in two days — and a 4-2 Detroit lead.
NOTES: Smyly was the first Tigers rookie to reach double figures in strikeouts since Mark Leiter had 10 in 1991. ... Sanchez walked three batters, giving him 15 in his last three starts. ... The Tigers are 67-47 against Kansas City since Jim Leyland took over in 2006.