|Kansas City (36-47)||0||3||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||5||10||0|
|Detroit (45-38) «||1||0||2||0||4||1||0||0||x||8||8||2|
DETROIT -- Marcus Thames turned a logical decision into a costly one.
"It was definitely the right move -- it just didn't work out," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Cabrera hit a 424-foot shot to left in the first, leading to manager Trey Hillman's call to play the percentages to help Bruce Chen's chances to get out of the fifth.
"Cabrera had already hit one, so we walked him to get to Marcus because Chen had had better success with him," Hillman said. "But he left another pitch up."
Verlander (9-4) also left some pitches up, but his blazing fastballs had the Royals swinging and missing often.
He struck out 11 to run his baseball-best total to 141, the most by a Detroit pitcher before the All-Star Game in 37 years. He gave up five runs -- three earned -- and seven hits over six innings.
"I don't try to strike everybody out," Verlander insisted.
The last Tiger to have as many strikeouts as Verlander before the break was Mickey Lolich, who had 152 before the 1972 All-Star Game.
Verlander, though, got into some trouble against the Royals by giving up leadoff singles in the first two innings and allowing David DeJesus' bases-clearing double in the second that gave Kansas City a 3-1 lead.
"He was shaky early, but he settled in," Leyland said. "I was pretty nervous after the first couple of innings."
A night after Leyland lamented how poorly his team was hitting, the Tigers had plenty of stars at the plate.
Cabrera hit his 17th homer, Polanco had a season-high four RBI and Thames went deep for the third time in four games.
Unlike the previous game in which Detroit's bullpen blew a lead, three relievers combined for two scoreless innings to set up Fernando Rodney's 18th save in 18 chances and 21st in a row dating to last season.
"You don't take it for granted because we've seen what it's like when you don't have somebody at the end to shut it down," Verlander said. "It's no fluke."
Billy Butler hit a solo drive in the sixth for Kansas City. Chen (0-3) allowed seven runs -- all but one on three homers -- in 4 2/3 innings.
"That's five homers in three starts," Hillman said. "And, four of them have been on the same pitch -- a changeup that he leaves up.
"When you keep making the same mistakes on the same pitch, you need to make some kind of adjustment."
"I've got to do a better job of concentrating on getting the ball down," he said. "I felt pretty strong until the fifth, but that inning just got away from me, and the three-run homer buried me."
|Justin Verlander has 141 strikeouts, the most for a Detroit pitcher before the All-Star break in 37 years. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Kansas City Royals|
|David DeJesus, LF||5||0||3||3||0||1||1||.258|
|Willie Bloomquist, SS-RF||4||0||1||0||1||2||1||.283|
|Billy Butler, 1B||5||1||2||1||0||0||3||.287|
|Mark Teahen, 3B||4||1||0||0||1||3||3||.288|
|Jose Guillen, RF||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.250|
|Tony Pena Jr., PR-SS||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.089|
|Mike Jacobs, DH||3||0||0||0||0||3||2||.223|
|a- Brayan Pena, PH-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.326|
|Alberto Callaspo, 2B||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.300|
|Miguel Olivo, C||4||0||0||0||0||3||5||.249|
|Ryan Freel, CF||3||1||1||0||0||1||0||.152|
|a-flied out for Jacobs in the 8th|
|2B - David DeJesus (17, Verlander), Billy Butler (23, Verlander)|
|HR - Billy Butler (8, Verlander)|
|RBI - David DeJesus 3 (39), Billy Butler (35), Jose Guillen (35)|
|2-OUT RBI - David DeJesus 3 (17)|
|CS - David DeJesus (4, 2nd base by Verlander/Laird)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Teahen-Callaspo-Butler|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Bruce Chen (L,0-3)||4.2||4||7||7||5||3||3||6.88|
|IBB - Cabrera by Bruce Chen|
|HBP - Inge (by Robinson Tejeda)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Bruce Chen 92-48, Robinson Tejeda 29-19, Jamey Wright 26-15, Ron Mahay 17-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bruce Chen 3-8, Jamey Wright 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Bruce Chen 23, Robinson Tejeda 6, Jamey Wright 5, Ron Mahay 4|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||5||0||2||0||0||1||2||.257|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||5||2||3||4||0||0||1||.262|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B||2||2||1||1||2||0||1||.324|
|Marcus Thames, DH||4||1||1||3||0||1||1||.257|
|Ryan Raburn, LF||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.279|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.267|
|Magglio Ordonez, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.260|
|Josh Anderson, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Gerald Laird, C||3||1||0||0||1||0||0||.237|
|Adam Everett, SS||2||2||0||0||2||2||1||.265|
|HR - Placido Polanco (6, Chen), Miguel Cabrera (17, Chen), Marcus Thames (8, Chen)|
|RBI - Placido Polanco 4 (40), Miguel Cabrera (48), Marcus Thames 3 (18)|
|2-OUT RBI - Placido Polanco 3 (19), Miguel Cabrera (21), Marcus Thames 3 (8)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Laird-Polanco, Polanco-Everett-Cabrera|
|E - Brandon Inge (9, Throwing), Gerald Laird (2, Interference)|
|Justin Verlander (W,9-4)||6||7||5||3||0||11||1||3.59|
|Brandon Lyon (H,5)||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||3.83|
|Bobby Seay (H,18)||0.2||0||0||0||1||1||0||3.12|
|Joel Zumaya (H,7)||0.1||0||0||0||1||1||0||4.20|
|Fernando Rodney (S,18)||1||1||0||0||1||2||0||4.14|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 114-86, Brandon Lyon 12-8, Bobby Seay 10-5, Joel Zumaya 9-3, Fernando Rodney 25-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 4-3, Brandon Lyon 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 26, Brandon Lyon 4, Bobby Seay 3, Joel Zumaya 2, Fernando Rodney 5|
|Attendance - 29751|
|Game Time - 3:03|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Brian O'Nora|