KANSAS CITY James Shields has had little to show for his quality pitching this season.
The Royals starter put together another solid start Sunday, but still lost 4-1 to the Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera and Andy Dirks homered as the Tigers won to avoid being swept.
Shields (4-7), who has won only one of 10 home starts, took the loss, giving up three runs on nine hits, while striking out six in seven innings.
“I felt like I was pounding the zone, keeping them off balance, but the bottom line is we didn’t win,” Shields said.
The Royals have scored 10 runs in his seven losses and he has just one home victory against Tampa Bay – his former club.
“You can control only what you can control as a player,” said Shields, who has at least 11 victories in each of the past six seasons.
“Anytime you give up three runs in seven innings, you’ve done a good job” Yost said.
Shields did his job, but the offense again failed to show up when he starts. Shields has the fourth lowest run support in the American League.
Doug Fister (8-5) picked up the victory with six strong innings, yielding a run, while allowing six hits and striking out five and walking one.
Cabrera, who is second in the league with 31 home runs to Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, drove a 1-1 pitch out to left in the first inning. Yost said that pitch was five inches inside.
“That’s why he’s the best hitter in the game,” Shields said.
Cabrera, the reigning AL MVP, leads the majors with 96 RBIs and 134 hits. His home run was his 352nd, passing Dick Allen and tying Ellis Burks for 86th on the all-time list.
Miguel Tejada tied it in the second with his third home run of the season and the 307th of his career. Tejada took an 0-1 Fister pitch out to left.
Dirks broke the tie with a home run with one out in the fifth to straightaway center, just eluding Jarrod Dyson’s leap at the wall.
“I was pretty close,” Dyson said. “I didn’t get my glove on it. It was just a couple of inches away. When he hit it, I thought it was to the warning track, but it kept carrying.”
The Tigers tacked on a run in the seventh. They loaded the bases with none out on Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta singles. Brayan Pena, a former Royal, brought home Fielder with a sacrifice fly to center.
Pena contributed another sacrifice fly in the ninth, this one scoring Peralta, who doubled with one out and stopped at third on Dirks’ single to left.
Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth to log his ninth save in as many opportunities.
Fister plunked Salvador Perez with a pitch in the third and leads the majors with 14 hit batters.
The Tigers left Kansas City with a seven-game bulge over the Royals, but that would have been five games had they lost.
“It’s still July,” Shields said. “Winning two out of three against the first-place team in our division, I’ll take that every day and move on.”
NOTES: 2B Chris Getz was held out of the lineup with a mild medial left knee sprain, which he injured in the fifth inning Saturday. Manager Ned Yost said Getz was available. Miguel Tejada replaced Getz at second. … Tigers CF Austin Jackson snapped an 0-for-18 with a sixth inning single. … RHP Wade Davis, who starts Monday against Baltimore, is looking for his first Royals’ victory since June 16. … RHP Max Scherzer, who starts Monday for the Tigers at Chicago, is coming off his first loss of the season. Scherzer went 13-0 in his first 18 starts before falling 7-1 on July 13 to Texas, allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings.