KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Doug Fister retired the first two batters easily enough in the fifth inning.
Getting that third out proved to be more elusive for Fister and the Detroit Tigers.
Eric Hosmer hit a three-run and the Kansas City Royals rallied to defeat the AL Central leaders 5-2 Sunday.
Alex Gordon had an infield single and Emilio Bonifacio singled before Hosmer hit his 16th home run, connecting on a 2-2 pitch from Fister.
``We've been doing that way too much, giving up hits with two strikes,' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
``It's not just the last two days. We've been doing that for a while and we've got to stop it,' he said.
Fister acknowledged the home run pitch to Hosmer was not where he wanted it.
``I threw it right where he wants it,' Fister said. ``I was trying to get him to roll over and left it in the middle. We were trying to use the big ballpark and I left it over too much.'
Bruce Chen picked up Kansas City's beleaguered starters with seven solid innings, allowing two runs and five hits.
``Chen pitched how he always pitches,' said Alex Avila, who got one of the hits off him. ``You can look back at any game he's pitched and it's always the same.'
``He mixes a lot of pitches, works in and out, changes speeds, and never gives in. After he gets you out, you go back to the dugout saying, `Man, how did I get out?''
Chen (7-2), who moved into the rotation on July 12 after 19 relief appearances, earned the first victory for a starter on the Royals' seven-game homestand.
The starters entered the game with an 8.00 ERA in the first six games, allowing 24 runs on 41 hits and 16 walks in 27 innings.
After losing 16-2 on Friday, the Royals took the final two games of this series. They are seven games above .500, but trail the Tigers by seven games with 19 to play.
``The talent on that team, they should be a lot more over .500,' Avila said. ``They have very good starting pitching, the best bullpen in the league and good hitters one through nine.'
Fister (12-8) allowed five runs on eight hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Greg Holland allowed Prince Fielder's double with two out in the ninth, but collected his 40th save in 43 chances.
Jose Iglesias, who had not played since leaving the game Wednesday with shin splints, homered in the third inning after Avila had singled, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
It was Iglesias' second home run since the Tigers acquired him in a July 30 trade with Boston.
Chen pitched out of trouble in the sixth. Austin Jackson led off with a double and Miguel Cabrera came up with one out - he had five career home runs off Chen in 36 at_bats.
This time Cabrera hit a comebacker and Chen threw out Jackson at third. Chen fell behind 3-0 to Fielder, who then looked at the next three pitches - all strikes.
``It was a huge play with Miguel,' Chen said. ``We have a two-run lead and the first pitch, he hits a groundball to me.'
NOTES: Fielder played in his 486th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the majors. ... Leyland said OF Nick Castellanos would start again Monday after making his first major league start Saturday. ``He's got a feel for hitting,' Leyland said. ``He's a confident kid in the batter's box. He looks natural in the batter's box.'
The Associated Press News Service
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