Jason Vargas tied for the major league lead with his 18th victory, lifting the Kansas City Royals over the struggling Detroit Tigers 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Vargas (18-10) went six innings to match Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw for most wins in the majors. He gave up a run and five hits, inducing groundball double plays in the second, fourth and fifth innings.
In his first two starts against Detroit, Vargas was 0-2 while allowing 13 runs, including four home runs, in 4 2/3 innings. Vargas had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and only made three starts last year, but he’s now the first Royals pitcher to win 18 games since Kevin Appier in 1993.
The Tigers have lost eight straight and dropped to 4-21 in September.
Ian Kinsler’s two-out single in the third scored JaCoby Jones for Detroit’s run.
Eric Hosmer’s two-out double in the fourth brought home Whit Merrifield, who began the inning with a double. That was Hosmer’s 189th hit, a career best. He had 188 in 2013.
Anibal Sanchez (3-6) took the loss, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out six over six innings. Sanchez is winless in eight starts since an Aug. 1 victory over the New York Yankees.
Mike Minor worked the ninth for his third save in five chances.
The Royals turned five double plays.