KANSAS CITY, Missouri — James "Big Game" Shields came up just short in the Kansas City Royals' biggest game of the season.
"We battled hard today and we just couldn't put runs across the board when we got the hits," Shields said. "I didn't do my job in the seventh inning. Those two combination weren't very good."
The Tigers won a key appeal and increased their edge to 2 1/2 games over the Royals. Kansas City fell into a tie for the second wild-card spot with Seattle, which played later at Houston.
Detroit, seeking its fourth straight division title, has won 13 of 18 against the Royals this year, including eight of nine at Kauffman Stadium.
After finishing the homestand Sunday with the Tigers, the Royals end the season the road at Cleveland and Chicago.
Kansas City went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 overall.
Jarrod Dyson and Alcides Escobar singled with one out in the Royals ninth. They moved up on Nori Aoki's groundout and were stranded on pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez's grounder, giving Joe Nathan his 33rd save in 40 tries.
"I left a change up a little bit," Shields said. "He put a good swing on it and hit it up the middle. What killed me was walk to Suarez. I thought two or three of those pitches were close to being strikes. I can't walk him in there and put him in a scoring position. Rajai I made my pitch."
"It's a tough loss, but we've still got some games to go," he said. "We're still in the thick of things."
The game was tied in the sixth when a line drive and a wild throw led to an appeal toss and a pair of umpire discussions that wound up ruling a Royals runner had left third base too soon.
With Salvador Perez on third and Eric Hosmer on second with one out, Omar Infante lined out to Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler. Trying for a double play, Kinsler threw to shortstop Eugenio Suarez and the ball sailed into left field.
Perez, who had been trying to get back to third after the catch, reversed course, headed home and appeared to score.
Scherzer got back on the mound and made an appeal throw to third, saying that Perez never tagged up. Third base umpire and crew chief Larry Vanover called Perez safe, prompting Tigers manager Brad Ausmus to ask for video review challenge.
The umpires checked with the replay booth in New York, and were told the play was not reviewable.
As a replay was displayed on the videoboard, clearly showing that Perez never tagged up, the umpires gathered again and reversed their original call. They ruled Perez out, ending the inning.
"They appealed the play," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They already called him safe and then they talked. Then they came over to the review headset. That play is not reviewable. New York told them it wasn't reviewable. They got back together and called him out."
"I said, 'OK, what's the basis for that?' He said it was the umpire's judgment that he did not tag. I said, which umpire judgment's that he didn't tag?' Because obviously you (Vanover) got it wrong, you didn't see it. You called him safe.' He said that's our judgment."
In a statement, Vanover said: "We started talking about what happened. We walked through the play. We took a consensus of the information, out of that crew consultation, we came up with the answer that he didn't tag up."
Yost said the Royals won't contest it any further.
"You can't protest a judgment call," Yost said.
Torii Hunter opened the Tigers' fourth with his 17th home run. He also singled in the sixth for his sixth straight multihit game, the longest streak of his career.
Alcides Escobar hit an RBI single in the fifth and Hosmer singled home a run in the eighth.
Aoki, who was 13 for 16 in the past four games, put down sacrifice bunts in first and third innings, but the Royals failed to convert that into a run off Scherzer.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy, who has missed his past two starts with a sore shoulder, threw a bullpen session in the ninth inning Friday and is scheduled to rejoin the rotation Tuesday at Cleveland.
Tigers: Sunday starter Rick Porcello is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts this season against the Royals.
Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie gave up eight runs, six earned, on 10 hits and one walk in 2 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, in a Sept. 8 start at Detroit.
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