Rival watch- Royals blank Tigers 1-0, Indians remain 1.5 GB
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Ervin Santana allowed two singles in 7 1-3 innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 on Friday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
Santana, who can be a free agent after the season and has been widely speculated to be traded before the July 31 deadline without a player clearing waivers, did not allow a runner to reach second base. He walked one and struck out six.
Santana (6-6), who was coming off his worst outing of the season, when he allowed eight runs on 10 hits in a July 11 loss at Cleveland, retired the first 10 Tigers before Torii Hunter's one-out single in the fourth.
Kelvin Herrera, who was just recalled from Triple-A Omaha, replaced Santana in the eighth after he walked Jhonny Peralta with one out. Herrera retired Andy Dirks on a grounder and struck out Alex Avila looking.
Greg Holland worked a flawless ninth for his 23rd save in 25 opportunities, striking out one.
Alex Gordon led off the Royals' first with a single to right, stole second with one out and scored on Billy Butler's ground-ball single to center.
That was the only run Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez (7-7) would allow in six innings, but that was one too many.
Sanchez, who was making his third start since coming off the disabled list with a shoulder strain, left after 101 pitches, allowing four singles, walking five and striking out three.
The Royals loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth on Butler's single and walks to Mike Moustakas and David Lough, but failed to score as Alcides Escobar struck out to end the inning.
The Royals are 4-2 against the American League Central Division-leading Tigers, with five of the games decided by two or less runs.
The Tigers were shut out for the seventh time this season.
Notes: 2B Chris Getz, who was recalled after hitting .313 in 14 games with Triple-A Omaha, started Friday. He went 0 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout. .Tigers IF Omar Infante, who went on the disabled list July 4, will link up with the club Saturday for an evaluation of his sprained left ankle. He has been rehabbing at the Tigers' facility in Lakeland, Fla. . RHP Justin Verlander, who starts Saturday, has a 0.64 ERA in two games this season against the Royals, but no decisions. The Royals will counter with RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who is 5-2 in seven home starts this season.