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Royals cut down Fielder in 9th to seal win over Tigers

– Prince Fielder was thrown out at home plate to end the game, preserving Ervin Santana’s impressive outing and leading the Kansas City Royals to a 1-0 victory Saturday night over the Detroit Tigers.

The play at the plate helped the Royals gain ground on the two teams ahead them in the race for the second AL wild card, the Yankees and Orioles, who both lost earlier. Kansas City moved to three games back of Tampa Bay. The Rays were playing at Minnesota.

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

Santana (9-9) won for the first time since Aug. 4, outpitching Doug Fister (12-9). He gave up five hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out five.

Will Smith, Luke Hochevar and Greg Holland completed the seven-hitter.

Fielder walked to open the ninth. The Tigers’ burly first baseman then tried to score from first on Omar Infante’s two-out double but Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon made a strong throw from the left field corner to Alcides Escobar. The shortstop then made a relay to catcher Salvador Perez, who tagged a sliding Fielder to end it.

Miguel Cabrera made a bid to put Detroit ahead with two outs and a man on in the bottom of the sixth. But Gordon caught Cabrera’s long drive to left-center at the fence.

Detroit’s magic number remained 10 games to clinch the AL Central.

Santana was replaced by Smith with two outs and runners on second and third in the seventh. Smith got pinch-hitter Nick Castellanos to fly out to end the inning.

Hochevar pitched a scoreless eighth and Holland worked the ninth for his 43rd save.

Fister was nearly as good, giving up a run and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out six.

Jose Alvarez got the final out of the eighth and Al Alburquerque pitched a perfect ninth inning.

Royals second baseman Emilio Bonafacio was ejected after being picked off first base by Fister in the third.