KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers won their appeal on a wild play, and Joe Nathan escaped a ninth-inning jam to hold off the Kansas City Royals 3-2 Saturday and boost their AL Central lead.
The Tigers increased their edge to 2 1/2 games over the Royals. Kansas City fell into a tie for the second wild-card spot with Seattle, which played later at Houston.
Detroit, seeking its fourth straight division title, has won 13 of 18 against the Royals this year, including eight of nine at Kauffman Stadium.
It was 1-all in the sixth when a line drive and a wild throw led to an appeal toss and a pair of umpire discussions that wound up ruling a Royals runner had left third base too soon.
With Salvador Perez on third and Eric Hosmer on second with one out, Omar Infante lined out to Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler. Trying for a double play, Kinsler threw to shortstop Eugenio Suarez and the ball sailed into left field.
Perez, who had been trying to get back to third after the catch, reversed course, headed home and appeared to score the go-ahead run.
Scherzer got back on the mound and made an appeal throw to third, saying that Perez never tagged up. Third base umpire Larry Vanover called Perez safe, prompting Tigers manager Brad Ausmus to ask for video review challenge.
The umpires checked with the replay booth in New York, and were told the play was not reviewable.
As a replay was displayed on the videoboard, clearly showing that Perez never tagged up, the umpires gathered again and reversed their original call. They ruled Perez out, ending the inning.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Collins and Rajai Davis hit RBI singles in the seventh.
Torii Hunter opened the Tigers' fourth with his 17th home run. He also singled in the sixth for his sixth straight multihit game, the longest streak of his career.
Alcides Escobar hit an RBI single in the fifth and Hosmer singled home a run in the eighth.
Jarrod Dyson and Escobar singled with one out in the ninth. They moved up on Aoki's groundout and were stranded on Ibanez's grounder.
Aoki, who was 13 for 16 in the past four games, put down sacrifice bunts in first and third innings, but the Royals failed to convert that into a run off Scherzer.
Tigers: RHP Anibal Sanchez, who has not pitched since Aug. 8 because of a right pectoralis strain, will throw a simulated game Sunday. ... C Alex Avila remains sidelined with concussion-like symptoms and has not played since Sunday.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy, who has missed his past two starts with a sore shoulder, threw a bullpen session in the ninth inning Friday and is scheduled to rejoin the rotation Tuesday at Cleveland. Duffy's previous start was Sept. 6 at New York, but departed after one pitch with shoulder pain.
Tigers: Sunday starter Rick Porcello is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts this season against the Royals, allowing 17 hits and striking out 16 in 20 1-3 innings.
Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie gave up eight runs, six earned, on 10 hits and one walk in 2 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, in a Sept. 8 start at Detroit.