Series: Game 2 of 3

Detroit leads 2-0 (as of 9/20)

Game 1: Friday, September 19
Kansas City1
Game 2: Saturday, September 20
Kansas City2
Game 3: Sunday, September 21
Kansas City5

Tigers 3

(86-68, 45-35 away)

Royals 2

(83-71, 41-39 home)

    Coverage:  FOX

    1:05 PM ET, September 20, 2014

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 000100200 3 7 1
    KC 000010010 2 11 0

    W: M. Scherzer (17-5)

    L: J. Shields (14-8)

    S: J. Nathan (33)

    Tigers-Royals Preview


    James Shields had his poorest outing of the season against the Detroit Tigers, while Max Scherzer's worst came versus the Kansas City Royals.

    Neither of these staff aces, Shields in particular, can afford a repeat as the Tigers and Royals continue a crucial three-game series at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday.

    The bulk of the pressure will be on Shields in the second game of the biggest series in the AL Central race after Kansas City (83-69) was crushed 10-1 in Friday's opener to fall 1 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit (85-68) in the division.

    The Royals couldn't get anything working against 2011 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, who allowed one run and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings to help the Tigers improve to 12-5 in the rivalry this year.

    "He certainly seemed like he was up for this game," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Verlander. "It was there up there with one of the best games he's had all season."

    Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer and every batter in Detroit's starting lineup had a hit by the fourth inning.

    "There's no carry-over," manager Ned Yost said. "They whipped us, they beat us, they spanked us, whatever you want to say. We'll show up again tomorrow and be ready to play."

    Kansas City badly needs a quality outing from Shields after Jason Vargas was touched for five runs and nine hits over 3 1/3 innings in the loss.

    The Royals, who haven't won a division crown since 1985, occupy the second wild-card spot, one-half game behind Oakland and hold the same advantage over Seattle.

    "This is why we play the game," Shields told MLB's official website. "This is why we grew up playing the game is for moments like this."

    Both Shields (14-7, 3.15 ERA) and Scherzer (16-5, 3.26) have had strong outings within this division rivalry this season to go with a glaringly bad one.

    Scherzer, last season's AL Cy Young winner, opened 2014 with eight scoreless innings in a win over the Royals and was 8-2 before his second outing against them June 17. Coming off a shutout of the Chicago White Sox, Scherzer was torched for season highs in runs (10) and hits (10) over a season-low four-plus innings in an 11-4 loss that day.

    It was only the second time he allowed 10 runs in a single outing and was one of just four starts this season in which he's failed to log six innings. Scherzer, however, bounced back against Kansas City with 6 2/3 strong innings in a 4-2 win Sept. 9.

    The Tigers could use another performance like that with Scherzer squaring off against Shields, who has tossed at least seven innings in his last four starts, posting a 1.23 ERA and 2-0 record that includes a 3-0 victory at Detroit on Sept. 10.

    Shields tossed two-hit ball over seven innings in that game after going 0-2 with a 5.49 ERA over his first three starts against the Tigers this season, including a May 2 loss in which he went 6 1/3 innings and, like Scherzer, surrendered season worsts in runs (8) and hits (12).

    Scherzer is looking to win two straight decisions for the first time since late July. He is 1-1 with a 4.10 ERA over his last four starts after allowing four runs and seven hits over seven innings while failing to get a decision in Monday's 8-6 win at Minnesota.

    Shields allowed 10 hits in his previous outing but only three runs, working seven innings while not factoring in the decision in a 4-3 win over the White Sox on Monday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     DetroitKansas City
    Current StreakW1W1
    Last 106-46-4

    Pitching Matchup

    DetroitKansas City
    M. Scherzer
    18-5, 3.15 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/25 at DET
    6.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win
    J. Shields
    14-8, 3.21 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/25 at CHW
    6.0 IP, 3 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.DetroitKansas City
    1. I. Kinsler, 2B A. Escobar, SS
    2. T. Hunter, RF N. Aoki, RF
    3. M. Cabrera, 1B J. Willingham, DH
    4. V. Martinez, DH A. Gordon, LF
    5. J. Martinez, LF S. Perez, C
    6. N. Castellanos, 3B E. Hosmer, 1B
    7. E. Suarez, SS O. Infante, 2B
    8. B. Holaday, C M. Moustakas, 3B
    9. R. Davis, CF J. Dyson, CF