KANSAS CITY — Miguel Cabrera and Andy Dirks homered as the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 4-1 today to avoid being swept.
Doug Fister (8-5) picked up the victory with six strong innings, yielding a run, while allowing six hits and striking out five and walking one.
Cabrera, who is second in the league with 31 home runs to Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, drove a 1-1 pitch out to left in the first inning. Cabrera, the reigning AL MVP, leads the majors with 96 RBIs and 134 hits.
Cabrera’s home run was his 352nd, passing Dick Allen and tying Ellis Burks for 86th on the all-time list.
Miguel Tejada tied it in the second with his third home run of the season and the 307th of his career. Tejada took an 0-1 Fister pitch out to left.
Dirks broke the tie with a home run with one out in the fifth to straightaway center, just eluding Jarrod Dyson’s leap at the wall.
The Tigers tacked on a run in the seventh. They loaded the bases with none out on Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta singles. Brayan Pena, a former Royal, brought home Fielder with a sacrifice fly to center.
James Shields (4-7), who has won only one of 10 home starts, took the loss, giving up three runs on nine hits, while striking out six in seven innings.
Pena contributed another sacrifice fly in the ninth, this one scoring Peralta, who doubled with one out and stopped at third on Dirks’ single to left.
Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth to log his ninth save in as many opportunities.
Fister plunked Salvador Perez with a pitch in the third and leads the majors with 14 hit batters.
NOTES: 2B Chris Getz was held out of the lineup with a mild medial left knee sprain, which he injured in the fifth inning Saturday. Manager Ned Yost said Getz was available. Miguel Tejada replaced Getz at second. .Tigers CF Austin Jackson snapped an 0-for-18 with a sixth inning single. .RHP Wade Davis, who starts Monday against Baltimore, is looking for his first Royals’ victory since June 16. .RHP Max Scherzer, who starts Monday for the Tigers at Chicago, is coming off his first loss of the season. Scherzer went 13-0 in his first 18 starts before falling 7-1 on July 13 to Texas, allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings.