ROYAL K: Fister pitching yesterday against Kansas City.
ROYAL K: Fister pitching yesterday against Kansas City. Photo by AP
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DETROIT - Doug Fister set an AL record by striking out nine straight batters and the Detroit Tigers kept their lead in the Central, beating the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Thursday on Alex Avila's grounder in the ninth inning.

The Tigers began the day with a one-game edge over the Chicago White Sox, who later hosted Tampa Bay.

Fister came within one strikeout of matching Tom Seaver's major league record of 10 in a row. But the Tigers blew a 4-0 lead after seven innings, and Joaquin Benoit (5-3 ) allowed a solo homer by Billy Butler to tie it in the ninth.

The Royals made five errors, including one that loaded the bases in the ninth. Avila hit a grounder to first baseman Brayan Pena, who made a diving stop and touched the bag, but had no play at home.

Tim Collins (5-4 ) got the loss.

Fister struck out Salvador Perez to end the top of the fourth, starting a streak that didn't end until Perez grounded out to the shortstop on a two-strike pitch in the seventh.

Fister finished with 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. He allowed two earned runs and five hits.

The Tigers were in danger of a shocking loss in their last regular-season home game after Butler's 28th homer tied it. But Prince Fielder led off the Detroit ninth with a chopper that went past the mound and charging shortstop Tony Abreu. The hefty slugger made it all the way to second for a double on a ball that only ended up a few feet beyond the infield.

Delmon Young was intentionally walked, and pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago bunted into a forceout at third, leaving runners at first and second. Kelvin Herrera replaced Collins on the mound and got Jhonny Peralta to hit what looked like a potential double play grounder to third, but Mike Moustakas misplayed it for his third error of the game.

Avila hit a full-count pitch to first, scoring pinch-runner Don Kelly with the winning run. Kansas City's Luis Mendoza allowed two earned runs in seven innings.

Fister retired 16 straight before the Royals broke through in the eighth. Jeff Francoeur hit an RBI double, Johnny Giavotella added an RBI groundout, and Abreu, pinch-hitting, drove in a run with a single to make it 4-3.

Reds dent Brewers' chances with 2-1 win

Slumping Todd Frazier tied the game with a two-out homer in the ninth inning, and Dioner Navarro followed with an RBI triple that sent the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-1 victory yesterday and dealt a major setback to the Milwaukee Brewers' playoff chances.

The Brewers slipped four games behind idle St. Louis for the final NL wild card with six games left.

All they needed was one more out from closer John Axford (5-8 ), who had converted his last 15 save chances. Frazier connected on the first pitch for his first homer since Aug. 21, tying it at 1. Jay Bruce singled and came around on Navarro's triple to deep right-center field.

The comeback ended with the Reds' first on-field celebration since they clinched the NL Central title on Saturday.