Jeremy Guthrie couldn't find a way out of trouble.
Torii Hunter had two of his three hits in a six-run third inning, and the Detroit Tigers beat Kansas City 9-5 Monday to close within a game of the AL Central-leading Royals.
"They just kept putting the ball in play," Guthrie said.
Detroit won its 9,000th game, tying a season high with eight hits in the third and opening an 8-2 lead. Guthrie (10-11) allowed eight runs — six earned — and 10 hits in 2 2-3 innings. He has given up 14 earned runs in his last 6 2-3 innings against the Tigers.
Seven of Detroit's first eight batters got hits in the third, which began with Hunter's infield single. Victor Martinez's infield hit drove in the first run, glancing off the glove of first baseman Eric Hosmer toward the dirt behind second. Don Kelly's double made it 4-2, Nick Castellanos hit a two-run double and RBI singles by Al Avila and Hunter boosted the lead to 8-2.
"He was one pitch away from getting out of that third inning but it just kept snowballing and he couldn't make that pitch," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Kansas City closed in the seventh when Hosmer tripled, Billy Butler hit an RBI groundout and Lorenzo Cain hit an inside-the-park homer off Justin Verlander (13-12), a ball that Hunter ran down in right-center only to have Kelly collide with him and knock off Hunter's glove.
Hosmer's RBI single in the eighth against Joba Chamberlain made it 8-5, but Billy Butler hit an inning-ending groundout with runners at the corners.
"We battled all the way, tried to chip away. Just couldn't chip away enough," Hosmer said.
Verlander (13-12) allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings for his third win in four starts.
"It was pretty good," he said. "They put up a couple runs in a couple innings, but even after they got those two early runs, I went back and watched the video and those were all good pitches. They've just got a good lineup."
Royals: LHP left-hander Danny Duffy will miss his next turn in the rotation because of a sore shoulder. "He's in Kansas City going through three or four rounds of treatment every day," Yost said. "We'll evaluate him when we get back." ... Closer Greg Holland, who hasn't pitched since Wednesday because of a strained right triceps, is getting closer to returning. Yost said Holland threw on the side Monday and could be available Tuesday.
Tigers: RHP Joakim Soria (left oblique strain) threw 27 pitches in a simulated game and felt good. "Big step today. Hopefully, it feels good tomorrow," Soria said. Manager Brad Ausmus said Soria threw all of his pitches and looked strong. If Soria feels good on Tuesday, he will likely be activated the following day.
Jason Vargas (11-7, 3.14) is slated to start Tuesday for the Royals and Max Scherzer (15-5, 3.25) for the Tigers. Scherzer is 9-5 against Kansas City.
Hunter was down for a couple of minutes after the collision with Kelly, was checked by Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand and stayed in the game.
DON'T LET ME CATCH YOU
Cain was second and Mike Moustakas was on third with one out in the third when Nori Aoki lofted a single to shallow center. Moustakas thought Kelly might catch the ball and held up, but Cain read the play correctly and was two steps behind Moustakas as they crossed the plate.
Across the street later in the day, the Detroit Lions hosted the New York Giants at Ford Field. The start of the baseball game was moved up three hours to accommodate.
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