By Larry Lage
The Associated Press
DETROIT — The Kansas City Royals gave themselves a chance to cut into Detroit’s lead in the AL Central with an impressive, doubleheader sweep in which they held the Tigers to only one run.
Kansas City, though, couldn’t prevent Miguel Cabrera from lifting the Tigers to two straight wins to take the five-game series.
Cabrera hit his 40th home run, a day after leading off the ninth with a game-winning homer, and had an RBI single to help Max Scherzer become baseball’s first 18-game winner this season as Detroit beat the Royals 6-3 Sunday.
“We had a chance to win the series,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost lamented after his team beat Detroit by a combined score of 5-1 in two games Friday night.
The Royals tried to pitch around Cabrera, but he hit pitches inside and outside off the plate.
Cabrera became the third player since 1921 to have at least 40 homers and 120 RBIs while batting .350 or better through 116 games, joining Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, according to STATS.
Yost said before the game that intentionally walking Cabrera wasn’t a good option because Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez hit behind him.
After Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a run-scoring single in the third, Yost chose to give Cabrera a free pass in the fifth inning with a runner on third and Fielder followed with an inning-ending groundout. Cabrera has eight homers in 13 games.
“I’d like to pitch around him,” Yost said. “You don’t want to throw a strike that he can hit. We threw him a strike. That’s my fault.”
The reigning Triple Crown winner leads the majors in batting (.360) and RBIs (120). His home run pulled him within four of Baltimore’s Chris Davis for the big league lead, then Davis hit his 45th later in the day.
Bruce Chen (5-1) allowed six earned runs — more than he had given up in his last six starts — on eight hits over 5 1-3 innings.
Chen didn’t regret either of the two pitches he threw to Cabrera that were hit, watching him pull an outside fastball and a cutter several inches inside.
“When he’s on, I don’t think you can throw anything around him,” Chen said.
Mariners4, Rangers 3: ARLINGTON, Texas — Coming off a 15-strikeout performance in his last start, Texas ace Yu Darvish looked sharp through the first four innings Sunday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners.
The next four innings were a different story as the Rangers’ right-hander allowed the lead-off batter on base in each frame, resulting in three runs, and closer Joe Nathan also let the leadoff batter score in the ninth as the AL West-leading Rangers lost 4-3 to Seattle on Saturday.
“He just lost his command,” Texas manager Ron Washington said of Darvish. “Earlier he was spotting it up and then as we got past the fifth inning there, he was just a little erratic with his command. But then again, he was able to pitch around a lot of that trouble also.”
After each team scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings, Seattle’s Kyle Seager took a pitch from Nathan that was nearly in the dirt down the right field line for the game-winning RBI double in the ninth.
The Mariners took two of three from Texas, and they scored three runs in 7 1-3 innings against Darvish in the series finale.
In Darvish’s previous start, he took a no-hit bid into the eighth against Houston. The two-time All-Star from Japan struck out seven on Sunday against the Mariners, raising his major league-leading total to 214.
“In many games I have trouble with my command in any inning I throw, but today it happened after the sixth inning,” Darvish said through a translator. Darvish gave up five of his seven hits and all four of his walks after the fourth. Darvish, who had 50 strikeouts in his last five starts, left after throwing 120 pitches. He walked four after walking a total of four in his previous three August starts.
Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre each had a hit and an RBI for Texas. Mitch Moreland’s RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth scored A.J. Pierzynski for Texas’ first run. Craig Gentry scored Texas’ other two runs.
Seager took a leadoff four-pitch walk and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth against Darvish, and his two-out RBI double off Nathan won the game for the Mariners in the ninth.
Until an eighth inning, go-ahead home run against Texas on Friday, Seager has been 0 for 21, but he finished the weekend against Texas hitting 4 for 9 with a walk, two home runs, two doubles and four RBIs.
“I got ahead of Seager and made a pitch,” Nathan said. “He hit a pitch that was probably going to be in the dirt if he didn’t scoop it out of the ground before it got there. Hats off to him. Again he found a way to find the outfield grass when he needed it on a pitch that out of my hand felt pretty good. I’ll take my chance with those.”
Nathan (3-2) took over to begin the ninth with the score 3-all. Endy Chavez led off with a single, Humberto Quintero laid down a sacrifice bunt and Nick Franklin drew a two-out walk before Seager’s go-ahead hit.
Yoervis Medina (4-3) got the win and Danny Farquhar earned his seventh save in 10 tries. Starter Erasmo Ramirez had a solid outing, pitching seven innings and giving up two runs, one earned, while taking the no-decision.
NOTES: The Rangers expect to announce on Monday who will start Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros. After it was announced that Alexi Ogando would miss his start on Monday due to inflammation around a nerve in his right shoulder, Matt Garza was bumped up in the rotation from Tuesday to Monday. Ross Wolf, a long reliever for Texas, is among the candidates to get the call. He said Sunday that “if needed, yeah, I can give them all I’ve got, and all I’ve got may be 70 pitches.” . Rangers first baseman Lance Berkman’s status remains up in the air. Berkman has been on the disabled list (left hip inflammation) since July 7. Rangers manager Ron Washington said the team hasn’t “come up with anything yet” regarding Berkman. . Seattle left fielder Raul Ibanez got the day off to rest. Dustin Ackley moved to left and Michael Saunders played center. Also, Michael Morse was out of the lineup, giving Endy Chavez the start in right. . Michael Saunders got hits in each of his first three at-bats, all against Darvish. Saunders was 1 for 10 against Darvish going into the game.