Detroit Tigers Beat K.C. 4-3, Verlander Wins 16th
On the very first pitch of the game, Alex Gordon of the Royals blasted a Justin Verlander fastball deep into centerfield. The fence at Kaufman Stadium is 410 in dead center. This one went 411, into the glove of Austin Jackson who leaped and pulled it back for a long out. That play set the tone for today's game. Kansas City would come close, but victory would be snatched away from them by the Tigers.
Justin Verlander would go on to win his 16th game by pitching 7 innings and striking out 8 Kansas City batters on a hot and humid day in the heartland. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez proved to be a good one-two punch in this one, both had RBI hits in the first inning. Martinez would drive home Cabrera in the 3rd inning to put the Tigers up 3-0. The Royals wouldn't go away, scoring a run on a solo homer by Jeff Francouer in the 5th and two more in the 7th on a couple of hits and a throwing error from Ryan Raburn. The Tigers had scored their 4th run in the top of the 7th without hitting a ball out of the infield. Alex Avila led off the inning with a line single off the pitcher. Austin Jackson tried to sacrafice bunt Avila to second, but ended up being safe at first on the play while Avila made it to second. Boesch hit a slow chopper to the mound, moving Avila and Jackson into scoring position. Magglio Ordonez hit another slow bouncer to the pitcher to score Avila.
Joaquin Benoit pitched a scoreless 8th inning and Jose Valverde picked up his 32nd save by mowing down the Royals without any drama in the 9th, 1-2-3. The Tigers are now 61-52, and hold at least a four game lead over second-place Cleveland, pending the outcome of their game in Texas.
Victor Martinez had to leave tonight's game after an awkward attempt to score late in the game. Preliminary reports are that he has a sprained knee and is day-to-day. His bat will be missed if he is out for any length of time.
Detroit will wrap up their 3-game series in Kansas City tomorrow afternoon with a 2:10 pm game against the Royals. Max Scherzer will pitch for the Tigers. After an off day on Monday, the Tigers will head to Cleveland for three games against the Indians. An opportunity to put some distance between themselves and their closest competitors. First things first. Beat the Royals again tomorrow.