KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — After loading the bases with nobody out in the eighth inning, the Detroit Tigers mustered only one run.
That was all they needed.
Brandon Dixon hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly off reliever Jake Diekman that sent Detroit past the Kansas City Royals 3-2 on Wednesday night.
“The guy was throwing the ball pretty hard with a great breaking ball,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “(Dixon) stayed behind it, stayed on it and drove it the other way to get the run home. That’s huge.”
Miguel Cabrera also had a sacrifice fly for the Tigers, and Ronny Rodriguez hit an RBI double.
Jorge Soler drove in both Royals runs but flied out with a runner on to end the game.
“He had two big two-out RBIs today to keep us in the game,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said, “and he just missed that last ball. Really picked us up big-time. He was a majority of our offense. Anytime you get two-out RBIs, those are big, and Jorgie got two of them for us.”
The teams now head to Omaha, Nebraska, to play the first Major League Baseball game in that state Thursday night. It’s a prelude to the College World Series, which begins Saturday in the same ballpark — also home of Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate.
The Royals need a victory to win a series for the first time since April 12-14.
“You just try to find ways to score some runs to make those good starts count for something,” Yost said. “Danny (Duffy) was really, really good.”
After the start was delayed 24 minutes because of the threat of rain, Diekman (0-3) walked JaCoby Jones leading off the eighth. Christin Stewart doubled under the glove of first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, sending Jones to third.
After walking Nicholas Castellanos, Diekman struck out Cabrera. But then Dixon sent right fielder Terrance Gore to the fence for the go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Nick Ramirez (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win. Shane Greene worked the ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances.
“We hung in there,” Gardenhire said. “Ramirez came in and did a really nice job for a couple of innings.”
CUBS 10, ROCKIES 1
DENVER — Cole Hamels struck out nine in seven scoreless innings, singled twice and drove in two runs to lead the Chicago Cubs past the Colorado Rockies 10-1 in a testy game on Wednesday.
Rockies All-Star third-baseman Nolan Arenado left in the fifth inning with a left forearm contusion after Hamels (6-2) hit him with a pitch in the third, and three more batters —. including Hamels — were hit by pitches later in the game.
BREWERS 6, ASTROS 3
HOUSTON — Justin Verlander set a career high with 15 strikeouts, but Mike Moustakas hit a two-run homer during Milwaukee’s three-run 14th inning and the Brewers rallied to beat Houston.
Christian Yelich started the 14th with a single against rookie Cionel Perez (1-1) for Milwaukee’s first hit since the ninth. After Ryan Braun lined out, Moustakas hit his 21st homer.
BRAVES 8, PIRATES 7, 11 INNINGS
ATLANTA — Austin Riley tied the game with a solo homer in the ninth inning and scored the winning run on Ozzie Albies’ double in the 11th, leading Atlanta past Pittsburgh for its sixth straight victory.
The Braves (39-29) took over sole possession of first place in the NL East and moved 10 games over .500 for the first time this season.
MARLINS 9, CARDINALS 0
MIAMI — Jordan Yamamoto pitched seven innings to win his major league debut, Garrett Cooper hit a grand slam and Miami blanked St. Louis to end a six-game skid.
Yamamoto, acquired last year in the Christian Yelich trade, allowed three hits and two walks and threw 95 pitches. The rookie also earned an RBI with a squeeze bunt.
DIAMONDBACKS 2, PHILLIES 0
PHILADELPHIA — Merrill Kelly tossed three-hit ball over 7.2 innings, and Arizona beat Philadelphia.
Kelly (7-6) struck out five before departing when Bryce Harper entered the game as a pinch-hitter. Andrew Chafin retired Harper on two pitches and Greg Holland finished the three-hitter, earning his 10th save in 11 tries.
RED SOX 4, RANGERS 3
BOSTON — Mookie Betts drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning, giving Boston the win over Texas.
Andrew Benintendi hit a triple and two doubles, driving in two runs for the Red Sox as they ended a three-game skid and avoided falling below .500 for the first time in more than a month.
ATHLETICS 6, RAYS 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ramon Laureano hit his first career grand slam to break an eighth-inning tie and finished with five RBIs as Oakland beat Tampa Bay.
Oakland went 6-4, including taking two of three from the Rays, on a season-long 10-game trip that included some significant travel issues.
BLUE JAYS 8, ORIOLES 6
BALTIMORE — Rowdy Tellez hit a grand slam to cap a six-run fifth inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had three hits and Toronto beat Baltimore to end a five-game losing streak.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had two RBIs for the Blue Jays, who matched their run total from the previous five games combined.
TWINS 6, 10 INNINGS
MINNEAPOLIS — Dee Gordon scored for Seattle on one of Minnesota’s three errors in the 10th inning.
Gordon opened the 10th with a ground-rule double off Tyler Duffey (1-1). Shed Long walked before the runners advanced on Dylan Moore’s sacrifice.
GIANTS 4, PADRES 2
SAN FRANCISCO — Evan Longoria drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single in the fifth inning after San Diego made two errors, and San Francisco held on to complete a two-game sweep.
Kevin Pillar homered for the first time in more than a month and Donovan Solano had two hits and two RBIs for the Giants. Buster Posey went 1 for 4 after coming off the injured list earlier in the day.