DETROIT (AP) -- Alex Avila homered twice, including a tiebreaking solo shot in the eighth inning that lifted the Detroit Tigers over the Kansas City Royals 3-2 Sunday.
Detroit's Max Scherzer struck out 12 in seven innings but he was denied his 20th victory when Kansas City tied it off Drew Smyly (6-0) in the eighth. Avila answered in the bottom half with a homer to right-center.
Joaquin Benoit got three outs for his 20th save in 20 chances for the AL Central-leading Tigers.
Jeremy Guthrie (14-11) pitched all eight innings for the Royals, who began the day 3 1-2 games back in the AL wild-card race.
Avila's first homer was a two-run drive in the second. Alex Gordon hit a solo homer for Kansas City in the fourth.
Detroit entered five games ahead of second-place Cleveland, which faced the Chicago White Sox.
Scherzer has two losses and two no-decisions since a 19-1 start but was terrific Sunday. The right-hander allowed a run and five hits with one walk, pitching out of a second-an...