Ervin Santana, Royals bullpen shutout Tigers 1-0

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals defense also helped in a big way.

Ervin Santana and the Royals bullpen tossed a shutout, the Tigers had a runner thrown out at home to end the game, and Kansas City picked up a key 1-0 victory over Detroit at Comerica Park.

The Royals jumped on the scoreboard first. Alex Gordon led off the inning with a single, then Eric Hosmer crushed a one-out triple, easily scoring Gordon.  Hosmer scorched the ball to ball to dead center, narrowly missing a home run.

Billy Butler followed Hosmer with a groundball to Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers defense was playing in, and Cabrera gunned down Hosmer at home. It was a poor at-bat by Butler, but Hosmer shouldn't have been running on contact.

Emilio Bonifacio got tossed from the game in the top of the third. The second baseman drew a two-out walk, but was "picked off" third base by Doug Fister to end the inning.

Replays showed that Bonifacio was safe, but it was a pretty close call. Umpires occasionally miss calls and this one wasn't completely blown, just incorrect. Bonifacio argued with the umpire, then turned around and tossed his helmet. That was apparently too much for the umpire, who tossed Bonifacio.

If Bonifacio had thrown his helmet towards the umpire or slammed it on the ground while arguing, the ejection would have been warranted. But the argument looked over and Bonifacio was frustrated, but clearly moving on. Umpires shouldn't eject players for showing emotion during the middle of a playoff race, especially when Bonifacio was not trying to show him up.

The ejection had an impact later in the game, when Kansas City loaded the bases in the top of the fifth. Jarrod Dyson reached base with a bunt single, followed by an Alcides Escobar single. Fister then pitched around Gordon, loading the bases for Chris Getz, who replaced Bonifacio.

There's no way to know if Bonifacio would have collected a hit in that situation, but he is a much bigger threat than Getz. Getz hit a lazy flyball to centerfield, ending the inning.

The Royals put a pair of runners on in the sixth and the eighth innings, but never drove any in. Hosmer and Mike Moustakas both had multi-hit games.

Santana turned in a clutch start, shutting out the Tigers over 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander gave up five hits, walking none while striking out five. Santana's slider looked impressive all night, and he pounded the zone: 60 of his 83 pitches went for strikes.

Cabrera nearly hit a two-run homer in the sixth, but otherwise Santana looked impressive. Will Smith replaced Santana with two outs in the seventh, forcing Nick Castellanos to flyout.

Luke Hochevar worked a scoreless eighth, working around a Torii Hunter two-out double. Greg Holland came in for the ninth, walking Prince Fielder to lead off the inning before recording outs on the next two batters.

Omar Infante then lined a double down the left field line, rolling the ball into the corner. Gordon hustled over and picked it up, firing the ball to Escobar. Escobar relayed the ball to Salvador Perez, who made a great pick on a short-hop and tagged out Fielder to end the game.

Here's a .GIF of the Escobar/Perez part of the throw, courtesy @SBNationGIF:

Pfielderout_medium

The Orioles, Yankees and Rangers all lost, so the Royals should pick up some ground in the AL Wild Card race. If they manage to claw their way into the playoffs, this game and the final play will be remembered for awhile.

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