One of the biggest games at Kauffman Stadium in decades wound up being a one-sided rout.
Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer, everyone in the Detroit starting lineup had a hit by the fourth inning and the Tigers pounded Jason Vargas and the second-place Kansas City Royals 10-1 on Friday night to add another game to their A.L. Central lead.
Justin Verlander had all the support he needed by the end of the first inning, when the Tigers had shelled Vargas for three runs on five hits. Detroit tacked on a run in the second, another in the fourth and then broke things open with a five-run fifth.
The Tigers, who now lead the division by 1 1/2 games, have forged their advantage by dominating head-to-head matchups. They are 12-5 against the Royals his season.
“We just went out there and did what we’re capable of doing,” Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. “But there are no statements. Our intent is just to play the game.”
Lost amid the offensive onslaught was a fine performance by Verlander, who had struggled his last three times out. The former Cy Young winner allowed one run on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Athletics 3, Phillies 1
Coco Crisp had two hits and drove in a run, supporting another strong outing from Jon Lester, and Oakland defeated Philadelphia in Oakland, California, to regain the top spot in the chase for A.L. wild cards.
Derek Norris and Eric Sogard also drove in runs for Oakland, which moved a half-game ahead of the Royals. Kansas City is a half-game up on Seattle.
Lester allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out seven en route to his third consecutive win. Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.
Pirates 4, Brewers 2
Russell Martin hit a three-run homer off Jonathan Broxton in the bottom of the eighth inning and Pittsburgh inched closer to a playoff berth with a home win over Milwaukee.
Martin sent a Broxton fastball into the seats beyond the center field wall for his 11th home run of the season and easily his most important.
Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his 31st save as the Pirates moved 4 1/2 games in front of the Brewers for the second N.L. wild card spot with nine days left in the regular season.
Padres 5, Giants 0
Tim Hudson allowed four runs in the first inning and San Francisco was held to three hits in a road loss to San Diego that dropped them 3 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the N.L. West race.
Even so, the Giants’ magic number to clinch a wild-card spot dropped to four thanks to Pittsburgh’s win.
The Giants had only three base runners in seven innings against Padres rookie Odrisamer Despaigne. The Cuban defector walked Angel Pagan opening the game and retired the next nine batters before allowing Joe Panik’s double leading off the fourth. Despaigne struck out six and walked one.
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