KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Anibal Sanchez watched perhaps the weakest-hit ball of the night float just over his head, landing with a thud between the pitcher's mound and second base.

The Detroit Tigers' starter tried to make a whirling grab, but couldn't quite get his fingers around the ball. He let out an anguished cry as Eric Hosmer reached first base and Mike Moustakas came home with the lone run in the Kansas City Royal's 1-0 victory Wednesday night.

"It's part of the game, a blooper like that," Sanchez said.

Sanchez (2-4) lasted seven innings in his best start for Detroit but was upstaged by crafty veteran Bruce Chen (10-10), who allowed only four hits in a season-high eight frames.

Greg Holland survived a shaky ninth for his ninth save of the year.

The Tigers came to town hoping to make up ground on the AL Central-leading White Sox, but the third-place Royals have gotten the best of them through the first two games of the series.

Kansas City battered reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in the opener Tuesday night, scoring eight earned runs in 5 2-3 innings. Moustakas then delivered the go-ahead RBI double in the eighth to give the Royals a 9-8 victory.

They did it with pitching and defense Wednesday night, getting Chen's best start of the year and then turning a pair of inning-ending double plays to help him out.

"Chen pitched a great game. A great matchup – Chen and Sanchez – and Chen was just a little better," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Chen throws this when you're looking for that, and vice versa. He knows what he's doing, obviously. He's not overpowering. If you look at the radar gun, he's not one of those guys that's going to impress you, but he's a good pitcher."

Still, the Tigers had a chance to steal a victory in the ninth inning.

Andy Dirks led off with a single against Holland, and Miguel Cabrera ripped a pitch to center field. Jarrod Dyson, the fastest player on the Royals' roster, sprinted to his right and managed to make a diving grab, saving the tying run and quite possibly the game.

"The catch in the last inning was huge," Leyland said. "I think the ball actually sliced back to him a little bit he hit it so good. He made a great play."

Prince Fielder singled to put runners on first and second, keeping hope alive, but Holland struck out Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta to end the game.

The fact that the Tigers were still in it was a testament to Sanchez, who was just as good as Chen for three innings before finding trouble he couldn't escape in the fourth.

Moustakas doubled down the right-field line with one out and Hosmer came to the plate with two outs. He managed to catch a pitch so close to the hands that it popped over Sanchez's head like a knuckleball, finding what manager Ned Yost called "the Bermuda triangle" of the infield.

Sanchez tried to grab it while whirling toward first, but he just about whiffed on the pick-up and Hosmer had an RBI single. Brayan Pena grounded out to leave the score 1-0.

"Isn't it amazing?" Hosmer asked. "You can go up there and hit three lasers at guys, and then have a hit like that and it ends up deciding the game."

The Tigers' best scoring chance against Chen came in the seventh, when Cabrera scorched a pitch to center for a leadoff double. He advanced to third on Fielder's flyout, and Chen hit Young with a pitch to put runners on the corners with one out.

Relying on his deep repertoire of off-speed stuff, Chen struck out Peralta and then watched Moustakas charge a grounder to third by Jeff Baker and throw him out to end the threat.

Chen retired the side in the eighth before Holland slammed the door in the ninth.

"I felt really good. I felt like my teammates played really good defense," Chen said. "After the third inning, I didn't have to shake off anything. Everything was working."

NOTES: Leyland and Yost both praised the umpiring crew for taking a second look at a foul ball hit by Young in the ninth inning Tuesday night. The ball just skirted the foul pole and was ruled foul, a decision upheld after the video review.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • A military aircraft flies over the stadium during the national anthem before the All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • George Brett

    George Brett throws a ceremonial first pitch before the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Justin Verlander

    American League's Justin Verlander, of the Detroit Tigers, reacts after allowing a run by National League's Melky Cabrera, of the San Francisco Giants, in the first inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • A Kansas City Royals waits for the start of the All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Yu Darvish

    American League's Yu Darvish, of the Texas Rangers, waves before the start of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Justin Verlander, Carlos Gonzalez,

    National League's Carlos Gonzalez, of the Colorado Rockies, loses his bat as he swings on a pitch by American League's Justin Verlander, of the Detroit Tigers, in the first inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Billy Butler

    American League's Billy Butler, of the Kansas City Royals, waves as he is introduced before the start of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Derek Jeter, Ron Washington

    American League's Derek Jeter, right, of the New York Yankees, and manager Ron Washington, of the Texas Rangers, shake hands before the All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Ron Washington, Tony La Russa

    American League manager Ron Washington, left, of the Texas Rangers, and National League manager Tony La Russa shake hands before the start of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Adrian Beltre

    American League's Adrian Beltre, of the Texas Rangers, is introduced before the All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Justin Verlander

    American League's Justin Verlander, of the Detroit Tigers, misses a grounder from National League's Rafael Furcal, of the St. Louis Cardinals, in the first inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. Furcal hit into a force out to end the inning. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Justin Verlander, Pablo Sandoval

    National League's Pablo Sandoval, of the San Francisco Giants, hits a three-run triple on a pitch by American League's Justin Verlander, of the Detroit Tigers, in the first inning the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Justin Verlander

    American League's Justin Verlander, of the Detroit Tigers, walks next to catcher Mike Napoli, of the Texas Rangers, after giving up runs in the first inning of the All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Justin Verlander

    American League's Justin Verlander, of the Detroit Tigers, delivers against the National League during the first inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Matt Cain

    National League's Matt Cain, of the San Francisco Giants, pitches during the first inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Matt Cain

    National League's Matt Cain, of the San Francisco Giants, delivers against the American League during first inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Jose Bautista

    American League's Jose Bautista, of the Toronto Blue Jays, catches a fly ball hit by National League's Ryan Braun, of the Milwaukee Brewers, during the second inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Prince Fielder

    American League's Prince Fielder, of the Detroit Tigers, catches a ball hit by National League's Carlos Gonzalez, of the Colorado Rockies, during the second inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Joe Nathan

    American League's Joe Nathan, of the Texas Rangers, delivers during second inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • David Price

    American League's David Price, of the Tampa Bay Rays, delivers against the National League during the second inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Adrian Beltre

    American League's Adrian Beltre, of the Texas Rangers, throws to first for the out on National League's Joey Votto, of the Cincinnati Reds, during the third inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Gio Gonzalez

    National League's Gio Gonzalez, of the Washington Nationals, delivers against the American League during third inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Matt Holliday

    National League's Matt Holliday, of the St. Louis Cardinals, hits an RBI single during the fourth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. Rafael Furcal, of the St. Louis Cardinals, scored on the hit. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Rafael Furcal

    National League's Rafael Furcal, of the St. Louis Cardinals, hits a triple in the fourth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game against the American League, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Curtis Granderson

    American League's Curtis Granderson, of the New York Yankees, throws a ball to fans after catching a fly ball in the fourth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Stephen Strasburg

    National League's Stephen Strasburg, of the Washington Nationals, delivers during the fifth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Clayton Kershaw

    National League's Clayton Kershaw, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, delivers against the American League during the fifth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • David Ortiz

    American League's David Ortiz, of the Boston Red Sox, jokes with fans during the fifth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game against the National League, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Mike Napoli

    American League's Mike Napoli, of the Texas Rangers, hits a single during the fifth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Clayton Kershaw

    National League pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after the fifth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Chipper Jones

    National League's Chipper Jones, of the Atlanta Braves, waves to the crowds during the sixth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game against the American League, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Chipper Jones

    National League's Chipper Jones, of the Atlanta Braves, singles during the sixth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game against the American League, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Chipper Jones

    National League's Chipper Jones, of the Atlanta Braves, laughs as he singles during the sixth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game against the American League, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • R.A. Dickey

    National League's R.A. Dickey, of the New York Mets, delivers against the American League during the sixth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Chris Sale

    American League's Chris Sale, of the Chicago White Sox, delivers against the National League during the sixth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Mike Trout

    American League's Mike Trout, of the Los Angeles Angels, hits a single during the sixth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Mike Trout, National League's Jose Altuve

    American League's Mike Trout, of the Los Angeles Angels, steals second base against National League's Jose Altuve, of the Houston Astros, during the sixth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Cole Hamels

    National League's Cole Hamels, of the Philadelphia Phillies, delivers against the American League during seventh inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Ryan Cook

    American League's Ryan Cook, of the Oakland Athletics, pitches during the seventh inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Aroldis Chapman

    National League' pitcher Aroldis Chapman, of the Cincinnati Reds, delivers during eighth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Jim Johnson

    American League pitcher Jim Johnson, of the Baltimore Orioles, works during the eighth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Craig Kimbrel

    National League pitcher Craig Kimbrel, of the Atlanta Braves, delivers during eighth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Aroldis Chapman

    National League pitcher Aroldis Chapman, of the Cincinnati Reds, smiles after striking out American League's Mark Trumbo, of the Los Angeles Angels, to end the eighth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Joe Mauer

    American League's Joe Mauer, of the Minnesota Twins, singles in the ninth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. The National League won 8-0. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Pablo Sandoval

    National League's Pablo Sandoval, of the San Francisco Giants, right, celebrates with teammates after their 8-0 win over the American League in the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Jose Altuve, Joe Mauer

    National League second baseman Jose Altuve, of the Houston Astros, forces out American League's Joe Mauer, of the Minnesota Twins, on a ground ball by Elvis Andrus, of the Texas Rangers, during the ninth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. Andrus was safe at first. The National League won 8-0. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Joel Hanrahan

    National League's Joel Hanrahan, of the Pittsburgh Pirates, delivers against the American League during the ninth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. The National League won 8-0. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Papelbon

    National League's Jonathan Papelbon, of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Carlos Ruiz, of the Phillies, celebrate their 8-0 win over the American League after the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Melky Cabrera

    National League's Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants shows off his MVP trophy after the MLB All-Star baseball game against the American League All-Stars Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. National League won 8-0. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)