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10/02/2012 11:47 PM EDT
Royals rally past AL Central champion Tigers, 4-2
KANSAS CITY 4, DETROIT 2

By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Miguel Cabrera had two hits, drove in
two runs and pressed ever closer to the first Triple Crown in 45
years Tuesday night. Now, the question facing the Detroit Tigers
star is whether to play in the regular-season finale against
Kansas City.



Cabrera said he'd do what manager Jim Leyland asks of him.
Leyland said he'll play Cabrera if he wants. It seems nobody is
quite sure what will happen until the lineup card is posted.



"You know, he writes the lineup and I do what he wants," Cabrera
said after the AL Central champion Tigers lost 4-2 to the
Royals. "I play ball. He's the manager, he's the boss. So
whatever he wants to do, we're going to do. I play for the
manager."



With one game remaining in the regular season, Cabrera leads the
American League in average (.331), home runs (44) and RBIs
(139), putting him on the brink of becoming the first Triple
Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.



"I've not made the decision, but I will. I'm going to think
about it tonight. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do,"
Leyland said. "If he wants to play, then he'll play."



Alcides Esocbar and Jeff Francoeur homered for Kansas City on
Tuesday night, and Salvador Perez had the go-ahead RBI in the
fifth inning. Jeremy Guthrie (5-3) lasted six innings to improve
to 5-0 with six no-decisions in his final 11 starts, the Royals
winning 10 of them.



Doug Fister (10-10) allowed three runs on seven hits in 4 1-3
innings for Detroit.



"I pitched to contact and I got the contact, just not the
contact I wanted," Fister said. "I have some things to work out
in the bullpen in the next few days."



The Tigers will open the postseason on Saturday at home.



"I'm not worried about him," Leyland said. "He's fine."



Max Scherzer is another issue.



The right-hander twisted his right ankle in the on-field victory
celebration the previous night, knocking him out of his
scheduled start Wednesday. Scherzer, who is 16-7 with a 3.82
ERA, was supposed to pitch five innings to test his sore right
shoulder.



Luis Marte will start in Scherzer's place, and Leyland will rely
on a hodge-podge of relief pitchers to get through the game, the
outcome of which is ultimately meaningless.



Of course, there's a lot of meaning riding on Cabrera's at-bats.



He had a single in the first inning and a bases-loaded single in
the third before a fly ball to right field in the fifth. He was
replaced by Omar Infante in the bottom half of the frame,
something that Leyland indicated might happen.



"I'm the manager and I make the decisions, and you do a lot of
things on instincts," Leyland said. "I said, `You know what?
Three at-bats is enough."'



Leyland said he gave Cabrera the option of being DH or taking
the night off, but Cabrera wanted to play in his usual spot. The
Angels' Mike Trout and the Twins' Joe Mauer are chasing him for
the batting title, while the Rangers' Josh Hamilton is one back
for the home run crown.



"It'll be real interesting to see what will happen," Royals
manager Ned Yost said. "I give him a little credit. He was
playing today after clinching the championship."



While Cabrera insisted on playing, Leyland gave the night off to
several other regulars.



Quintin Berry started in center field, Don Kelly in left field,
Ramon Santiago at second base and Danny Worth at shortstop.
Several substitutions were made in the later innings.



The cobbled-together lineup played a part in the outcome, too.



Escobar homered in the first inning for Kansas City, but the
Tigers still led 2-1 on the strength of Cabrera's timely single
when the fifth inning rolled around.



Irving Falu, Jarrod Dyson and Escobar strung together
consecutive singles off Fister to tie the game. Alex Gordon
popped out to shortstop, and Perez hit a hard grounder toward
second base that should have resulted in an inning-ending double
play.



Santiago fielded the ball and the Tigers got the first out, but
Worth couldn't get the relay over to first base cleanly, which
allowed Dyson to score the go-ahead run.



Francoeur added a homer in the eighth, and the Kansas City
bullpen shut out the Tigers the final three innings. Greg
Holland handled the ninth for his 16h save.



"It was actually a good game," Leyland said. "It was kind of
fun."



Notes: Royals 1B Eric Hosmer (strained right shoulder) and 3B
Mike Moustakas (groin) will miss the final two games of the
season. Manager Ned Yost said neither of the injuries will
require surgery. ... RHP Luis Mendoza will start the season
finale for Kansas City. ... Prince Fielder played five innings
at 1B for Detroit. Leyland said he'll DH on Wednesday.

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