Kendrys belts 3 HRs as KC nears Central title

Kendrys belts 3 HRs as KC nears Central title

DETROIT -- Kendrys Morales hit three home runs and set a franchise record with 15 total bases, and Paulo Orlando homered and doubled as the Royals pounded the Tigers, 10-3, on Sunday at Comerica Park.

With the win, the Royals trimmed their magic number to clinch the American League Central to three. The Royals also increased their lead over the Blue Jays for home-field advantage throughout the postseason to two games.

The Royals had lost 11 of 15 before Sunday.

"I feel good where we're at," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I've said it before, but it's like going through the flu. Nobody wants it but you just get through it. I see signs of us coming out of it. We got 13 games left and now you want to go home and start to get a little momentum for October."

Morales also tripled and scored five runs. Kris Medlen went five innings and gave up three unearned runs for the victory. Danny Duffy, recently bumped from the rotation, recorded his first career save, pitching the final four innings and striking out six.

"He was fantastic," Yost said. "That's as good as I've seen Danny throw in a long time. Banging strikes with great stuff. Great job. It's encouraging because that's another power arm to add to the bullpen with a bunch of power arms."

Duffy's first save

Alfredo Simon took the loss for the Tigers, giving up 13 hits and eight runs in 4 1/3 innings.

"He was up [with his pitches]," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He was up all day long around the belt. That's really not what you want at any time when you're pitching. Sometimes you get away with it with a popup or a fly ball, but the Royals took advantage of it."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Have a day, Kendrys: Morales took over the club lead with his three homers. He now has 21. His homer in the third gave the Royals a 3-0 lead. His two-out homer in the fourth to the opposite field gave the Royals a 6-3 lead. He capped the scoring with a homer in the eighth. And he became the first Royal to hit three homers in a game since Danny Tartabull on July 6, 1991. Morales also became the seventh player in big league history to have three homers and a triple in a game. More >

Morales' third solo blast

Machado shows awareness: Simon's outing could've included more damage if not for a heads-up play from Tigers rookie shortstop Dixon Machado, who showed a veteran's awareness catching Christian Colon breaking for home while running down Ben Zobrist near third base in the second inning. Machado peeled off from Zobrist and made an off-balance, on-target throw to the plate to easily retire Colon.

Machado gets the out at home

Have a day Christian: Colon, filling in for the injured Alcides Escobar at shortstop, delivered the first four-hit game of his career. Colon had three singles plus a run-scoring double. His previous season high for hits this year had been two. More >

Colon's four-hit game

Tigers briefly rally back: Detroit faced a 5-0 deficit in the third inning when Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos each hit an RBI single off Medlen to begin a rally. Morales' second homer of the day made it 6-3, but Detroit put two runners on in the fourth to create a two-out opportunity for Cabrera. He fouled off three pitches and worked a full count before grounding out to short to end the threat. The Tigers had just two more hits the rest of the way.

Miggy's RBI single

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
According to research on baseball-reference.com, Simon is the first Tigers pitcher in 17 years to give up eight or more runs on 13 or more hits in less than five innings. Scott Sanders surrendered 11 runs on 16 hits over four innings at Texas on April 14, 1998.

REPLAY REVIEW
The Tigers got a double play overturned in the second inning when Ausmus challenged the out call on Castellanos on a close play at first base. Replay showed Castellanos' foot hitting the bag as Colon's throw was hitting first baseman Eric Hosmer's glove. It was the 10th overturned call in 26 challenges from Ausmus, with three calls confirmed and 13 others standing.

WHAT'S NEXT
Royals: Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (8-7, 5.55 ERA) makes his first start since Aug. 19 on Tuesday as he returns to the rotation, taking the place of Duffy. The Royals open a three-game set with the Mariners, starting at 7:10 p.m. CT.

Tigers: Detroit welcomes the White Sox to town one last time with a day-night doubleheader Monday to make up a rainout from earlier in the season. Kyle Ryan (2-3, 5.32 ERA) will jump in from the bullpen for a spot start in the opener, with Randy Wolf (0-3, 6.48 ERA) starting the nightcap. First pitch for Game 1 is scheduled for 1:08 p.m. ET, with a 7:08 start for Game 2.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.