DETROIT Jose Lima wanted to give Detroit teammate Matt Anderson a birthday present, and he came through.
Lima allowed two runs in seven-plus innings, and Anderson earned a save on his 25th birthday as the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, Friday night.
"I knew it was Matt's birthday, so I told Danny Patterson that I would pitch seven, Danny could pitch the eighth and Matt could close it out for his birthday," Lima said. "And that's just how it worked."
Lima was disappointed though, because he didn't come closer to a no-hitter on the anniversary of one he pitched in the minors.
"I pitched a Triple-A no-hitter seven years ago today for Toledo against Pawtucket, and I wanted to do it again," he said. "I came close, but then Neifi Perez got a double in the third."
The game was the first between the teams since last weekend's series that included a bench-clearing brawl, but none of the main participants played. Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney started serving his 10-game suspension Friday, while Tigers catcher Rob Fick had the day off and Jeff Weaver pitched Thursday against Anaheim.
"That wasn't even an issue tonight," Royals starter Chris George said. "That's all inconsequential at this point."
Lima (4-4) allowed two runs, five hits and two walks before leaving after giving up a leadoff single in the eighth. Lima improved to 4-1 at Comerica Park.
Patterson finished the eighth and Anderson pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 chances, but his first since July 31.
"He told me before the game that he would get me a save, and he did," Anderson said. "That was nice. I've been pitching a lot of courtesy innings lately."
Tigers manager Phil Garner said that he took Lima out in hopes that Patterson, a ground-ball pitcher, could get a double play. Patterson got the first batter he faced, Carlos Febles, to do just that.
"I wanted a groundball, and Jose doesn't get a lot of those," Garner said. "Danny's one of the best at getting double plays. Jose wanted to keep going, but he was happy to see that double play."
George (1-4) allowed four runs three earned and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out two.
"I was shaky early I certainly didn't start the game the way I wanted to," he said. "But I was proud of the way I bounced back. I thought I pitched well after the first couple innings."
Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the first when Roger Cedeno led off with a single, moved to second when Easley walked and scored on Tony Clark's one-out single. Easley scored the second run on a wild pitch, just beating catcher Gregg Zaun's throw to George.
The Tigers added a run in the second. Deivi Cruz doubled to left-center, advanced third on Juan Encarnacion's sacrifice and scored on a sacrifice fly by Javier Cardona.
Kansas City got on the board against Lima in the third on Neifi Perez's RBI double, but the Tigers scored in the bottom half to make it 4-1. Easley scored on Clark's run-scoring double play grounder.
The Royals cut the lead to 4-2 in the sixth on Perez's eighth homer of the season, but his first since joining the Royals in late July. Kansas City nearly scored another run later in the inning, but Bobby Higginson's diving catch robbed Raul Ibanez of an RBI double.
"That was a great play," Kansas City manager Tony Muser said. "We had finally got some momentum, and he took it away with that catch. That's a perfect example of how defense wins games."
Notes: The home team has won all 10 games in the season series. ... Tigers hitting coach Bill Madlock missed the game to serve his suspension from last week's fight. The suspension, which was originally two games, was quietly reduced to one late Friday. ... Sweeney watched the game from a TV truck outside the stadium. ... Roger Cedeno, who leads the majors in stolen bases, got his 47th and 48th Friday. ... Perez hadn't homered since June 23.