Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon catches the fly out hit by Detroit Tigers' J.D. Martinez during the fourth inning. ASSOCIATED PRESS
DETROIT — The Kansas City Royals won their 10th straight game, extending their best streak in 20 years when Jeremy Guthrie and a lucky hop helped them beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1 today.
The AL Central-leading Royals have not won this many games in a row since a run of 14 in a row in 1994. They extended their division lead over the Tigers to 1 1/2 games.
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Guthrie (4-6) allowed four hits and struck out nine in 6 2-3 innings. Drew Smyly (3-6) nearly matched him, but the Detroit left-hander was victimized by Alex Gordon’s RBI single that deflected off the second-base bag in the first and a solo homer by Omar Infante in the fifth.
J.D. Martinez homered for the Tigers in the seventh, but the Kansas City bullpen got the last seven outs, with Greg Holland pitching the ninth for his 21st save in 22 chances.
Kansas City will try for a four-game sweep of the Tigers on Thursday. The Royals began the series by pounding star right-handers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, then Guthrie took the mound and breezed through the team that has won the last three division titles.
It was Guthrie’s second straight game with nine strikeouts — he also reached the mark June 13 against the Chicago White Sox. He had some help tosday from his fielders, as Gordon saved a run in the fourth with a diving catch in left-center.
Fortune seemed to favor the Royals throughout the afternoon. With a runner on second in the first, Gordon’s two-out bouncer up the middle looked like a groundout to the shortstop, but it ricocheted off second base for a hit, allowing Eric Hosmer to come home.
In the second, Detroit’s Victor Martinez dropped a nice bunt against a shifted defense, only to have the ball roll foul inches before reaching third base.
J.D. Martinez homered in the seventh, and Nick Castellanos nearly tied it later in the inning with a two-out drive to left that bounced off the fence for a double. Kelvin Herrera relieved Guthrie and retired Don Kelly on a lineout to center.
Wade Davis struck out the side in the eighth, and Holland made it through the ninth after allowing a leadoff single to Miguel Cabrera.
Smyly allowed two runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings. He struck out six without a walk.
NOTES: Kansas City OF Nori Aoki (groin) and Detroit OF Torii Hunter (hamstring) did not play. ... Royals C Salvador Perez extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a ninth-inning single. ... Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler made a nice diving stop on Infante’s grounder in the third. ... Kansas City LHP Danny Duffy (4-5) faces Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-2) on Thursday.