With a 3-2 win over visiting Oakland, the Kansas City Royals won their eighth straight and took over first place in the Central division by 1/2 game over the slumping Tigers.
The quiet hero for Kansas City was shortstop Alcides Escobar, usually noted for his slick fielding, who came through with a pair of two-out RBI singles, the last of which put the Royals on top to stay, 3-2.
With two aboard in the second inning, Escobar singled home Alex Gordon, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead. Oakland tied the game in the third inning, but Escobar came through again in the seventh, singling up the middle to plate pinch-runner Norichika Aoki with what proved to be the game winner.
Wade Davis fanned two in the eighth for his 25th hold and Greg Holland picked up his league-leading 35th save with a scoreless ninth.
Despite the loss, the A's still lead the Angels in the AL West by 3 1/2 games.
The two teams play game two of their four-game series Tuesday at 8:10 pm EDT at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
|Snider: 2HR 4RBI|
Keeping pace in the torrid NL Central is no easy task, but the Pirates appear to be up to it, taking the first of a two-game series over the Tigers by an 11-6 score to retake second place in the division from St. Louis, 6-5 losers to Miami. Milwaukee leads the Pirates by 2 1/2 games with St. Louis another 1/2 game back.
Going 3-for-5 with a double and two home runs, Travis Snider provided the fuel for Pittsburgh's offense, driving in four runs and scoring three times.
Snider's second-inning, two-run blast put the Pittsburgh lead at 8-1. In the ninth, Snider launched a 433-foot solo bomb to straightaway center, completing the scoring.
The two teams combined for 28 hits - 14 apiece - but the Pirates made better use of their at-bats with runners on base.
Game two of the series begins 7:05 pm EDT Tuesday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.