Tigers left-handed closer Justin Wilson blew a save by giving up an RBI double and sacrifice fly in the ninth inning as the Royals rallied for a dramatic, 4-3 win on Wednesday night.
Wilson gave up a one-out, RBI double to Brandon Moss, and then Alex Gordon hit a sacrifice fly RBI to end the game.
Wilson started the ninth by inducing a fly out from Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.
From there, it was ugly.
Escobar, who had eight walks all season entering tonight, managed to draw a walk on four straight pitches.
On the next pitch, Moss doubled and advanced to third on a throw to the plate. He scored on Gordon's sacrifice fly.
Wilson (2.29 ERA) entered tonight as a prime target for major league teams as the July 31 trade deadline looms. Will this performance diminish his trade value?
Top 9: Mahtook belts 2-run HR
Mikie Mahtook belted a two-run homer to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning.
Victor Martinez drew a one-out walk against Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera and Andrew Romine was inserted as a pinch-runner.
Romine stole second base, and on the very next pitch, Mahtook homered.
Mahtook connected on a 98-mph fastball that evaded the outstretched glove of Royals centerfielder Lorenzo Cain.
Bottom 8: Rondon escapes
Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and struck out Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield and right fielder Jorge Bonifacio.
Then, in typical Jekyll-and-Hyde fashion, Rondon gave up a two-out double to Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain.
Rondon, however, escaped trouble as Royals catcher Salvador Perez flied out to end the threat.
It's 2-1 Royals entering the top of the ninth as reliever Kelvin Herrera takes the mound.
Top 8: Ex-Tiger Soria adds to pain
Ex-Tiger reliever Joakim Soria added salt to the wound of Tigers fans by tossing a scoreless eighth inning as the Royals cling to a 2-1 lead.
Soria is best known for his porous performance in the Tigers’ 2014 postseason three-game exit against the Orioles. But tonight he struck out Ian Kinsler and Alex Avila, then induced an inning-ending soft flyout from Miguel Cabrera (0-for-4 tonight).
Justin Upton reached base for the third time tonight when he leaned into a pitch and was plunked with two outs. But Cabrera could not deliver as his career-worst season continues.
If Cabrera is still hobbled by injuries suffered earlier this year, perhaps it’s time to take a trip to the disabled list.
Bottom 7: Upton's misread gives Royals lead
Tigers left fielder Justin Upton misread a sinking line drive by Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who tripled to lead off the seventh inning. One batter later, Mike Moustakas made the Tigers pay when he delivered an RBI single off Justin Verlander to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.
Perez's liner squirted under a hesitant half-dive by Upton, who saw the ball get behind him and roll to the left-field fence.
Perez, who is far from being known as speedy, was able to cruise into third base. The play was ruled a hit.
Verlander struck out Royals designated hitter Brandon Moss and left fielder Alex Gordon to end the inning.
Verlander is likely finished with eight strikeouts and one walk on 107 pitches. He gave up six hits and two earned runs in seven innings — perhaps a showcase for a hungry playoff contender as the July 31 trade deadline looms.
Top 7: Iglesias cannot take advantage
The rare sight of a Tigers baserunner in scoring position turned out to be just a tease: Jose Iglesias grounded out to second base to end the seventh inning.
The game is tied 1-1.
A mild threat unfolded as Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez drew a one-out walk, which ended the night for Royals right-hander Jason Hammel.
Royals reliever Scott Alexander (2.27 ERA) entered the game and was scheduled to face Tigers right fielder Jim Adduci for a lefty vs. lefty matchup. But Tigers manager Brad Ausmus inserted Mikie Mahtook, who struck out on three straight pitches.
Tigers center fielder Alex Presley delivered a two-out single, which caused Royals manager Ned Yost to exit the dugout and make another pitching change.
But Royals right-hander Peter Moylan entered and retired Iglesias (0-for-3 tonight).
Hammel gave up four hits and one earned run through seven innings, which is perhaps his best start of the season.
Bottom 6: Verlander pickoff ends inning
Justin Verlander gave up a leadoff single and one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, but he managed to leave the mound without giving up a run.
He can thank himself for a crafty pickoff move that ended the threat.
With a high leg kick that appeared like a normal delivery toward the plate, Verlander instead turned and fired to second base as Royals right fielder Jorge Bonifacio tried to slide back. Tag applied. Out. Inning over.
The Tigers and Royals remain tied at 1-1.
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield singled to start the inning and Bonifacio hit into a fielder’s choice (Merrifield out at second).
From there, Verlander jumped ahead 0-2 on centerfielder Lorenzo Cain, but managed to issue a walk, which placed runners on first and second with one out.
But Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer lined out to left field on the first pitch he saw. And then Verlander’s pickoff ended the frame as catcher Salvador Perez stood in the batter’s box.
Top 6: Miggy strikes out to end minor threat
Justin Upton provided a glimpse of life with a two-out single, but as we have seen throughout the 2017 campaign, Miguel Cabrera could not follow suit with a base hit to keep the inning alive.
It’s 1-1 after the top of the sixth inning.
A yawner of a contest for the Tigers hitters continued when Royals right-hander Jason Hammel retired second baseman Ian Kinsler (fly out) and catcher Alex Avila (ground out).
During Cabrera’s at-bat, Hammel threw a pitch in the dirt that snuck behind catcher Salvador Perez, but Upton did not try and advance to second base.
But it didn’t matter, anyway. One pitch later, Cabrera struck out swinging.
Bottom 5: Verlander reaches six strikeouts
Justin Verlander relinquished a two-out single, but escaped trouble as the game remains tied 1-1 after five innings.
Verlander has six strikeouts and no walks on 70 pitches.
Royals designated hitter Brandon Moss hit a two-out, line-drive single, but Verlander induced an inning-ending ground out from left fielder Alex Gordon.
Verlander hit 97 mph on the radar gun in the fifth and struck out Mike Moustakas (curveball) and Alcides Escobar (slider).
Moss’s hit was off the outstretched glove of Nick Castellanos, who was playing behind second base for defensive-alignment purposes.
Top 5: Bats snooze
It’s been quite a snoozer of a performance for the Tigers bats.
Royals right-hander Jason Hammel delivered yet another 1-2-3 inning, and this time around, he needed eight pitches to exit the frame.
The game is tied 1-1.
In the top of the fifth, Tigers right-fielder Jim Adduci flied out on the first pitch he saw. Centerfielder Alex Presley and shortstop Jose Iglesias both grounded out.
The Tigers' lone run tonight came via a soft ground out from Miguel Cabrera.
Anyone miss J.D. Martinez yet?
Bottom 4: Verlander steady in fourth
Justin Verlander threw a scoreless frame in the top of the fourth as the game remains tied 1-1.
Verlander has four strikeouts and no walks through four innings.
In the fourth, Royals catcher Salvador Perez turned on a slider and hit a sharp line drive down the left-field line, but it was foul by a few feet. Two pitches later, he grounded out to end the inning.
Verlander also retired center fielder Lorenzo Cain (fly out) and first baseman Eric Hosmer (line out). He's thrown 53 pitches.
Top 4: V-Mart flies out to warning track
Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez uncorked a solid swing on a 93-mph fastball from Royals starter Jason Hammel, but it died on the warning track to end the top of the fourth inning.
The game remains tied, 1-1.
Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos hit a two-out single on the first pitch he saw to end a string of 10 straight batters retired by Hammel.
Tigers left fielder Justin Upton grounded out and first baseman Miguel Cabrera flied out to start the fourth.
Hammel has thrown 57 pitches through four innings. He has one strikeout and no walks.
Bottom 3: Moss homers off Verlander
Royals left-handed hitter Brandon Moss belted a solo homer off Justin Verlander to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third.
Moss hit a 0-1 slider into the right-field seats, a line drive that neared the foul pole, for his 11th homer of the season.
Verlander rebounded to strike out Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (82-mph curveball) and right fielder Jorge Bonifacio (97 mph two-seam fastball).
Verlander has four strikeouts and no walks through three innings. He’s thrown 38 pitches.
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield singled with two outs, but Verlander struck out Bonifacio to end the inning.
Top 3: Hammel in control
Royals right-handed starter Jason Hammel appears primed for a pitcher’s duel with Justin Verlander and has retired eight straight Tigers.
Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias flied out, second baseman Ian Kinsler grounded out and catcher Alex Avila struck out in the top of the third.
The Tigers lead 1-0.
Hammel gave up two singles (Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton) in the opening inning that allowed Miguel Cabrera to notch an RBI ground out.
Bottom 2: Moustakas flies out to warning track
Justin Verlander has retired six straight batters and has two strikeouts through two innings as the Tigers hold a 1-0 lead.
Verlander engaged in an eight-pitch battle with Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and earned a strikeout on a 90-mph change-up.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas hit a long drive to the centerfield fence, but it found the glove of Alex Presley to end the frame.
Tigers catcher Alex Avila took a foul ball to the neck during Salvador Perez’s at-bat. The ball glanced off the dirt and hit Avila under the catcher’s mask — but he stayed in the game.
Top 2: Nothing doing in second inning
Royals right-handed starter Jason Hammel retired three straight Tigers batters in the top of the second inning.
The Tigers lead 1-0.
In the second, Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez lined out on the first pitch, right fielder Jim Adduci grounded out and centerfielder Alex Presley filed out.
Hammel needed 11 pitches to end the frame.
Bottom 1: Quick inning for Verlander
Justin Verlander needed seven pitches to retire the Royals in the bottom of the first inning.
The Tigers lead 1-0.
Tigers right fielder Jim Adduci was tested early and made consecutive putouts to start the game: Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield fouled out and right fielder Jorge Bonifacio flied out.
Verlander struck out centerfielder Lorenzo Cain on three pitches to end the inning.
Top 1: Miggy's RBI sparks early lead
Miguel Cabrera's RBI ground out scored Ian Kinsler as the Tigers lead 1-0 after the top of the first inning.
Kinsler led off with a single to left field off Royals right-handed starter Jason Hammel. The Tigers have placed the leadoff man on base in 11 of 19 innings against the Royals in the three-game series.
Justin Upton singled to advance Kinsler to third base, which set the table for Cabrera.
Hammel has posted a 10.07 ERA against the Tigers in his last five starts.
Verlander seeks to end personal skid
The Tigers seek their fifth straight win tonight as they battle the Royals in the excessive Missouri heat.
Leading off the top of the first inning will be Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, catcher Alex Avila and left fielder Justin Upton.
Right fielder Jim Adduci has been called up from Triple A Toledo and will start in place of departed fan favorite J.D. Martinez, who was traded to Arizona on Tuesday. It's Adduci's first game with Detroit since May 10.
The Tigers are hitting .340 during their four-game win streak.
Justin Verlander will seek his first win in four starts — and perhaps a showcase for Major League scouts.
Verlander's success vs. Royals
Justin Verlander has gotten the better of the Royals throughout his career.
On Wednesday, Verlander will look to keep the trend going as the Tigers search for their fifth straight win. First pitch is 8:15 p.m. (FSD, 97.1) at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Verlander owns a 23-10 record with a 3.19 ERA in 43 career starts against the Royals. In two starts against Kansas City this season, he's 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA.
Verlander has lost his last three starts and hasn't recorded a win since June 27 against the Royals. He allowed three hits and three runs with five strikeouts and three walks in 5.1 innings in his last start against the Blue Jays on July 14.
Tonight's game will mark Detroit's second since dealing J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. The Tigers have won the first two games of the four-game series by a combined score of 19-5, including Tuesday's emotional 9-3 win following the trade.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Alex Avila, C
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
6. Victor Martinez, DH
7. Jim Adduci, RF
8. Alex Presley, CF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Justin Verlander, RHP
1. Whit Merrifield, 2B
2. Jorge Bonifacio, RF
3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Alcides Escobar, SS
8. Brandon Moss, DH
9. Alex Gordon, LF
Jason Hammel, RHP