|Kansas City (67-88)||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2||7||2|
|Detroit (85-71) «||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||x||7||7||1|
DETROIT -- The television was tuned to another channel in the Tigers clubhouse when Detroit's division-title hopes disappeared.
Moments after their 7-2 win over the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers were eliminated from the AL Central race when Cleveland beat Oakland. But Jim Leyland's office TV was off and the players were watching the Lions-Eagles game.
"I knew it was getting close, but I wasn't even sure if they could do it today," outfielder Curtis Granderson said. "It's disappointing, but we knew it was coming."
The defending AL champions still have an outside shot at the wild card, but after the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 7-5, the Tigers were 5½ behind with six games to play. They aren't counting on a New York collapse in the final week to reach the postseason. That's why Leyland rested Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield and Ivan Rodriguez.
"I almost feel like apologizing to the fans for having so many guys out on Fan Appreciation Day, but we've got a lot of banged-up players and I want to protect them," Leyland said. "Playing 162 games is really a grind."
"We're not giving up -- we're going to play hard the rest of the year," Thames said. "I'm going to keep trying to hit the ball hard."
Verlander (18-6) allowed two runs, five hits and two walks in six innings. He has 35 wins in his first two full seasons, the most for a Tigers pitcher since Frank Lary also had 35 from 1955-56.
"He learns something every time he's out there," Leyland said. "He's going to be special."
Detroit scored four runs off Jorge De La Rosa in the first and never looked back.
"We got behind early, and that makes it tough to get back into it," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said.
De La Rosa (8-12) allowed four hits and a walk in the only inning of his first start since July 31.
"I felt really good, but I think I just threw the ball too hard," he said. "My control wasn't there, and I paid for it."
Billy Butler led off the Kansas City second with his eighth homer, but the Royals handed the run back when Ramon Santiago reached on an error by third baseman Alex Gordon and scored after another error by second baseman Jason Smith.
Thames led off the third with another homer to left, his 16th, to give Detroit a 6-1 lead.
Neither team scored again until Smith's RBI groundout made it 6-2 in the sixth, but the Royals never put together a serious rally against the Tigers' bullpen.
"The pen kept us in the game, but we just couldn't capitalize," Butler said.
Raburn capped the scoring with a leadoff homer in the eighth.
"I felt pretty good about this lineup, even if it didn't look great on paper," Leyland said. "We have some young guys who are hungry to play, and there are times that it is good to send in the shock troops."
|Justin Verlander baffles the Royals but can't keep the Tigers from elimination in the Central. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Kansas City Royals|
|David DeJesus, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.265|
|Joey Gathright, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.307|
|a- Emil Brown, PH-LF||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.256|
|Ross Gload, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.290|
|Billy Butler, DH||4||1||1||1||0||0||4||.300|
|Mark Teahen, RF||4||1||2||0||0||2||0||.282|
|Alex Gordon, 3B||2||0||0||0||2||1||1||.253|
|John Buck, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.228|
|Jason Smith, 2B||4||0||1||1||0||1||2||.207|
|Tony Pena, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||3||.257|
|b- Craig Brazell, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.500|
|a-struck out for Gathright in the 7th|
|b-struck out for Pena in the 9th|
|2B - Mark Teahen (29, Verlander)|
|HR - Billy Butler (8, Verlander)|
|RBI - Billy Butler (52), Jason Smith (18)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Gordon-Smith-Gload|
|E - Alex Gordon (14, Throwing), Jason Smith (5, Throwing)|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Jorge De La Rosa (L,8-12)||1||4||4||4||1||1||1||5.64|
|HBP - Santiago (by Luke Hochevar)|
|WP - Jorge De La Rosa (4), Luke Hochevar (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jorge De La Rosa 42-27, Luke Hochevar 47-29, Leo Nunez 41-28|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 5-2, Leo Nunez 1-6|
|Batters Faced - Jorge De La Rosa 8, Luke Hochevar 13, Leo Nunez 12|
|Cameron Maybin, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.152|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.342|
|Ryan Raburn, RF||4||2||2||2||0||1||0||.305|
|Carlos Guillen, DH||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.293|
|Marcus Thames, LF||4||2||2||3||0||1||0||.240|
|Brent Clevlen, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.125|
|Mike Hessman, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.213|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.238|
|Mike Rabelo, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.242|
|Ramon Santiago, SS||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||.288|
|2B - Ryan Raburn (11, De La Rosa)|
|HR - Ryan Raburn (4, Nunez), Marcus Thames 2 (17, De La Rosa, Hochevar)|
|RBI - Ryan Raburn 2 (24), Carlos Guillen (97), Marcus Thames 3 (51)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|E - Ramon Santiago (1, Throwing)|
|Justin Verlander (W,18-6)||6||5||2||2||2||6||1||3.68|
|HBP - DeJesus (by Justin Verlander), Gload (by Justin Verlander)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 104-69, Bobby Seay 21-18, Joel Zumaya 25-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 6-6, Joel Zumaya 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 27, Bobby Seay 6, Joel Zumaya 6|
|Attendance - 40068|
|Game Time - 2:42|
|Temperature - 79|
|Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Andy Fletcher|