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Fielder out at home in 9th, Royals beat Tigers 1-0

9/15/2013

DETROIT (AP) — Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez kept his eye on the ball. He tried, too, anyway, and wound up making a game-saving play.

Perez tagged out Prince Fielder at the plate, preserving the Royals' 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night.

"We had to win this ballgame and the manner in which we did it was just exciting," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Ervin Santana (9-9) and the Royals

moved up on the two teams ahead them in the race for the second AL

wild-card spot, with the Yankees and Orioles both losing. Tampa Bay

currently holds that final playoff position.

Greg Holland closed for his 43rd save, helped by an outstanding defensive play that shut down the AL Central leaders.

Fielder

walked to open the ninth, and the Tigers' burly first baseman tried to

score from first on Omar Infante's two-out double.

Gold Glover

Alex Gordon made a strong throw from the left-field corner to Alcides

Escobar, and the shortstop then made the relay throw to Perez.

Escobar's throw came in to Perez behind Fielder and the ball was shielded from the catcher's sight for about two seconds.

"I didn't see the ball," Perez said. "I just put my glove down and got the short hop and tagged him."

Escobar couldn't believe Perez's play.

"Unbelievable!" Escobar said. "That game was one of the best games I've ever played in in my career."

Detroit manager Jim Leyland agreed with third base coach Tom Brookens' decision to send Fielder.

"Really,

they executed that play to perfection," Leyland said. "The only thing

was, when I saw the throw coming in, I thought he might get a bad hop,

but he made a terrific

pick of that ball, and tag."

Eric Hosmer had an RBI triple in the first for the Royals. He was thrown out at the plate on a grounder.

Santana

(9-9) won for the first time since Aug. 4, outpitching Doug Fister

(12-9). He allowed five hits in 6 2-3 innings, walking one and striking

out five.

"Everything was working pretty good," Santana said. "I

threw a lot of strikes and most of the time ahead in the count. That was

the key."

Miguel Cabrera made a bid to put Detroit ahead with two

outs and a runner on in the sixth, but Gordon caught his long drive to

left-center at the fence.

Gordon lined a single on Fister's first pitch of the game, and he scored on Hosmer's one-out triple.

Royals

second baseman Emilio Bonifacio was ejected by first base umpire James

Hoye after being picked off first base by Fister for the final out of

the third.

Chris Getz, who is from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe, took over at second base for Kansas City.

NOTES:

Kansas City trainer Nick Kenney came out to check on Santana after he

was hit by Andy Dirks' liner in the second. Santana recovered to throw

Dirks out at first. Santana ultimately threw a couple of warmup pitches

and continued. ... The Royals are 10-8 against

the Tigers this season, clinching the season series with one game left.

... In Sunday's series finale, Detroit's Max Scherzer (19-3, 3.01) will

go for his 20th win against Kansas City RHP Jeremy Guthrie (14-10,

4.11).