Live Tigers blog: Verlander paves the way to win

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler makes throw to first for the out on Royals' Alcides Escobar in the third inning.


Justin Verlander came out of the All-Star break and pitched a gem of a game for the Tigers, and while it looked like he might take the loss after a couple of defensive blunders by his teammates, Verlander's boys picked him up with their bats in the bottom of the seventh and earned their guy a 4-2 win over the defending World Series champions.

The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning after Verlander allowed the first two men to reach base, but it was a big defensive mishap in right field by Steven Moya and a throwing error by Ian Kinsler that allowed those two men to score on a routine fly ball to deep right field.

No harm, no foul, though.

Tyler Collins went deep and Victor Martinez drove in two runs with an infield single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh after a ball glanced off the glove of former Tigers reliever, Joakim Soria.

In the ninth inning, Francisco Rodriguez came on for the save and gave up a one-out single to Cheslor Cuthbert. Rodriguez bounced back, though, striking out Bretty Eibner before getting Alcides Escobar to fly out to right field to end the game.

Verlander's final line was quite impressive. He mixed up his pitches and located well all night long: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K

The Tigers and Royals get back at it tomorrow when Mike Pelfrey (2-8, 4.58 ERA) takes the hill against Danny Duffy (4-1, 3.09).

Bottom 8th: Tigers 4, Royals 2

Brian Flynn came on for K.C. in the eighth and set the Tigers down in order.

Mike Aviles grounded out to second, James McCann struck out swinging and Tyler Collins grounded out to first.

Top 8th: Tigers 4, Royals 2

With Justin Verlander now in line to get the win thanks to the three-run seventh inning from the Tigers, Justin Wilson took over in the eighth and did his job well, setting the Royals down in order without any drama.

Eric Hosmer grounded out to shortstop, Kendrys Morales struck out for the third time tonight and Salvador Perez popped out to second.

Bottom 7th: Tigers 4, Royals 2

Tyler Collins, who caused some controversy earlier this season when a certain gesture to the Tigers crowd, returned in a big way with a big blast to right field to tie the game at 2-2.

After James McCann popped out to second to start the inning, Collins went up and got a hanging pitch from Luke Hochevar and hit it out of one of the deepest part of the ballparks in right center field.

The Tigers didn't stop there.

Jose Iglesias notched a one-out single back up the middle of the diamond and Ian Kinsler laid down a bunt for a base hit to put two men on for Cameron Maybin, who drew a walk of his own off of new reliever Joakim Soria to load the bases for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera got up 3-0 in the count but went down swinging, leaving it up to Victor Martinez, who was able to reach first base and get two runs home after the ball glanced off Soria's glove.

Top 7th: Royals 2, Tigers 1

Justin Verlander came back out for the seventh following a disappointing sixth and set the Royals down in order to give himself one more shot at a win tonight should his teammates pick up the slack in the bottom of the frame.

Alcides Escobar grounded out to shortstop, Jarrod Dyson flew out to left field and Whit Merrifield to grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.

It's been a solid night for Verlander, who should be done now as his pitch count has reached 110.

Bottom 6th: Royals 2, Tigers 1

Miguel Cabrera drew a leadoff walk but the Tigers were unable to do anything with it and find themselves down a run going into the final-third of this game.

Victor Martinez flew out to shallow center field and Ian Kennedy was lifted from the game in favor of Luke Hochevar, who got Nick Castellanos to fly out to center and Steven Moya to ground out to shortstop.

Kennedy's final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Top 6th: Royals 2, Tigers 1

With two men on base, Steven Moya found himself wondering in the land of the lost in right field, seemingly having little idea where the wall was and letting a ball that should have been caught fall to the ground. After getting the ball into his second baseman, Ian Kinsler made a throwing error to second base that allowed the second runner to score to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.

Salvador Perez was given an RBI as, for some reason, Moya was not charged with an error.

Eric Hosmer drew a leadoff walk and Kendrys Morales slapped a single to center field to put the first two men on for the Royals.

With Perez on second with nobody out, Verlander kept the damage to a minimum. He struck out Alex Gordon, got Cheslor Cuthbert to foul out and Brett Eibner to foul out to end the inning.

It was Verlander's own doing that allowed the first two men to reach. He was out in front of Hosmer before walking him, but it's still a shame that Moya's limited defensive abilities may cost Verlander a real gem of a start.

Verlander is up to 95 pitches and will probably have a short leash entering the seventh.

Bottom 5th: Tigers 1, Royals 0

The Royals gave the Tigers an opportunity for an insurance run, but Ian Kennedy again showed his fight in battling back to keep this a one-run game.

Cheslor Cuthbert made a diving snag on a one-out ground ball off the bat of Jose Iglesias, but he made the mistake of trying to make a spectacular play and threw a wild one to first base that got to the wall and allowed Iglesias to reach second base. The Tigers couldn't do anything with the man in scoring position, however, as Ian Kinsler struck out and Cameron Maybin lined out to right field.

Tyler Collins fouled out to leadoff the inning.

Kennedy has thrown 90 pitches tonight and I'm not sure K.C. will get anything more than another inning out of him.

Top 5th: Tigers 1, Royals 0

Alcides Escobar stroked a one-out single to center field, but Justin Verlander just kept dealing to get out of the inning. He struck out Jarrod Dyson and Whit Merrifield to dust off the side after getting Brett Eibner to leadoff the inning.

Verlander is up to nine punch outs tonight and he's doing it by setting up his fastball. Early in the counts, Verlander is throwing a lot of offspeed stuff before going up in the zone with a 96 mile per hour heater to send the hitters packing. His pitch count is in excellent shape, as well, as he's thrown 73 through five innings.

Bottom 4th: Tigers 1, Royals 0

Ian Kennedy has faced a bit of adversity, but he's keeping his team in this one after setting the Tigers down in order in the fourth inning.

Nick Castellanos grounded out to short, Steven Moya struck out looking for the second time tonight and James McCann lined out to first base to end the inning.

Kennedy has given up three hits and walked one, but he's yet to allow any of the bottom of the Tigers lineup get to him. He's thrown 70 pitches.

Top 4th: Tigers 1, Royals 0

Alex Gordon drew a two-out walk from Justin Verlander, but the Tigers grizzled veteran righted the ship instantly, getting Cheslor Cuthbert to strike out on a ball well out of the strike zone.

Verlander has had himself a good night thus far against the Royals. He's struck out six and allowed just three baserunners on 58 pitches.

Kendrys Morales struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt and Salvador Perez lined out to right field to start the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Tigers 1, Royals 0

Cameron Maybin slapped a one-out single to right center and Miguel Cabrera just about had himself a two-run home run to right field, but he was robbed by Brett Eibner at the base of the wall. With two outs, Victor Martinez flew out to shallow center field to end the inning.

Ian Kinsler grounded out to third to leadoff the inning.

Top 3rd: Tigers 1, Royals 0

Jarrod Dyson dropped a bloop single into right field before turning on the jets around first base and earning a hustle, one-out double. No harm, no foul, though, as Verlander got Whit Merrifield to ground out to shortstop and Eric Hosmer to ground out to second to end the inning.

The Dyson double was the first hit of the night for the Royals, and it was a bit of a cheap one, as Verlander jammed Dyson with the fastball only to see the speedy center fielder drop one into the outfield.

Alcides Escobar grounded out to second to leadoff the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Tigers 1, Royals 0

Jose Iglesias reached on a two-out error by K.C. first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert, who bobbled the ball on the exchange to seemingly extend the inning for Ian Kinsler. It wasn't mean to be, however, as Salvador Perez threw out Iglesias from his knees on an attempted steal. It was an exceptional play by Perez, who was falling forward on his knees as he fired a laser to second base.

James McCann grounded out to third and Tyler Collins flew out to shallow center field to start the inning.

Top 2nd: Tigers 1, Royals 0

Justin Verlander hit Alex Gordon with a one-out pitch that the K.C. left fielder wasn't exactly interested in getting out of the way of to give the Royals their first baserunner of the night. Verlander bounced back to strike out Cheslor Cuthbert for his fourth punch out of the night. He got Brett Eibner to pop out to end the inning.

Salvador Perez was the first Royals hitter to put the ball in play against Verlander tonight, flying out to left field for the first out of the inning. Verlander has four early punch outs on 29 pitches.

Bottom 1st: Tigers 1, Royals 0

I think it's safe to say that the Tigers are off to a good start post All-Star break.

After Justin Verlander struck out the side in the top of the first inning, Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the frame by knocking the second pitch from Ian Kennedy over the left field fence for his 17th home run of the season to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.

Miguel Cabrera kept the good vibes going with a one-out double to left field. The Tigers couldn't bring him home, though, as Victor Martinez grounded out into the shift in shallow right field for the second out of the inning. After a Nick Castellanos walk put runners on the corners, Steven Moya struck out looking to end the frame.

Top 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Justin Verlander appears to be well-rested and ready to roll tonight against Kansas City, striking out the side to get things started for the Tigers in the second half of the season. Verlander got Whit Merrifield, Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales all to walk back to the dugout with their tails between their legs.

It's obviously way too early to tell, but if this is any kind of sign of the Verlander the Tigers can expect to see as they make a push for the postseason, things could definitely be trending upwards.


1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Cameron Maybin, CF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Steven Moya, RF

7. James McCann

8. Tyler Collins, LF

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Justin Verlander


1. Whit Merrifield, 2B

2. Eric Hosmer, 1B

3. Kendrys Morales, DH

4. Salvador Perez, C

5. Alex Gordon, LF

6. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B

7. Brett Eibner, RF

8. Alcides Escobar, SS

9. Jarrod Dyson, CF

Ian Kennedy


When: Friday, 7:07 p.m.

Where: Comerica Park

Pitching matchup: RHP Justin Verlander (8-6, 4.07) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (6-7, 3.97)

Local TV: Fox Sports Detroit

National TV: None

Internet streaming: MLB.TV (blacked out in Detroit market)

Local radio: 97.1 FM

Satellite radio: SIRI Internet 849