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Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 1:08 PM ET
 

Royals-Tigers Preview

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After Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder helped Detroit break out of a minor slump, Max Scherzer looks to help the Tigers win their fifth consecutive home series.

The right-hander tries again to become the majors' first 18-game winner as the Tigers aim to take this five-game set from the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Fielder hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning and Cabrera delivered the game-winning shot in the ninth to help Detroit (72-51) avoid a third straight defeat to Kansas City with Saturday's 6-5 victory.

After totaling a run and six hits in the previous two games with the Royals (64-58), the Tigers got three hits from Jose Iglesias and two from four others as the AL Central leaders won for the third time in eight contests.

Battling leg, hip and abdominal problems, Cabrera had enough strength to muscle out his 39th home run - five back of major-league leader Chris Davis.

"Every at-bat, every game, you want to do something good, because I think people pay for that,'' said Cabrera, who leads the majors with a .358 average and 117 RBIs.

Fielder is 3 for 15 in the series, but two of those hits left the park.

Scherzer (17-1, 2.85 ERA) is the first Tigers pitcher to win 17 of his first 18 decisions, but he had to grind Tuesday while giving up three runs, four hits and striking out six in six innings of a 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox.

"He wasn't at his best, it's not a secret, but the fact is he made some good pitches," catcher Brayan Pena told the Tigers' official website. "But the fact that (Tuesday) wasn't his best day and he kept us in the ballgame, that says a lot about the guy."

He's 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA in his last five starts versus Kansas City. Scherzer yielded two runs and three hits in seven innings of a 3-2 win at Kauffman Stadium on June 11. That came after he allowed five in five innings of a 7-5 home victory over the Royals on April 24.

Hours after learning infielder Miguel Tejada was suspended for at least the rest of the season for testing positive for an amphetamine, the Royals lost for the fourth time in six games Saturday.

Kansas City might still have a good chance to win its fourth straight road series behind Bruce Chen (5-0, 1.62 ERA), who has allowed four runs in 38 2-3 innings in six starts since joining the rotation last month.

The 36-year-old extended his scoreless stretch to 18 2-3 innings after he allowed three hits in seven frames of a 1-0, 10-inning loss to Miami on Tuesday.

"Hey, a testament to him, he's still out there making pitches," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He's done a great job for them."

Making his first appearance against the Tigers this season, Chen went 1-4 versus Detroit in 2012 with a 3.52 ERA while receiving an average of 1.17 runs of support.

Back in the Kansas City lineup after missing five games with a strained calf, Mike Moustakas had two hits with an RBI on Saturday. He's batting .236 on the season, but is 6 for 11 in his last three versus Detroit.

Moustakas is 2 for 20 against Scherzer.

Tagged: Tigers, Royals, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Max Scherzer

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