Kansas City at Detroit

Scoreboard
Kansas City (37-32) «00004340011170
Detroit (36-30)0011000068132

Royals batter Verlander, pull within half-game of Tigers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Omar Infante showed the Detroit Tigers what they're missing.

Infante hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and had an RBI single in a four-run fifth against former teammate Justin Verlander, helping the Kansas City Royals beat the Tigers 11-8 on Monday night.

Infante became expendable in Detroit last November when the franchise traded first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler. The next month, Infante signed a $30.25 million, four-year contract with the Royals, and their manager is glad he did.

"I didn't really think much about Omar last year with the lineup that they had," Royals skipper Ned Yost acknowledged. "I would try to pitch around this guy and pitch around this guy to get to Omar, and Omar constantly just beat our brains in offensively. At about the midway point, I started realizing how really good he was."

With 90-plus games left this season, the Tigers are finding out how vulnerable they are and how good Kansas City is in the tightly contested AL Central.

The Royals have won a season-high eight straight to pull within a half-game of Detroit atop the division. Kansas City has won 11 of 13 since trailing the Tigers by 6½ games at the start of the month.

"We got on a nice little run here and we've made up some ground," Yost said.

Detroit scored six runs in the ninth inning and pulled within three on J.D. Martinez's two-out grand slam off Donnie Joseph. Michael Mariot struck out Austin Jackson looking for the final out.

Jason Vargas (7-2) gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks to win his third straight.

Verlander (6-7) allowed seven earned runs in consecutive starts for the first time in his career, giving up a season-high 12 hits and striking out two over six innings. He got off to a good start, retiring the Royals in order on 10 pitches in the first inning, and pitched four scoreless innings before getting roughed up.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning when Billy Butler followed Infante's RBI single with a three-run double off Verlander.

"Our confidence level is as high as it can get," Butler said. "I don't think it is as much him as it is we're going really good right now."

Infante cleared the left-field fences with his third homer this year with two on to make it 7-2 in the sixth, leading fans to boo Verlander, who is in the second season of his seven-year, $180 million deal.

"I don't blame the fans for booing," Verlander said. "They are frustrated with me, just like I'm frustrated with myself. I would have probably booed myself tonight. They've cheered me a lot of times, and they will cheer me again."

The jeers kept coming in the next inning when Kansas City scored four runs -- one earned -- on four hits and two errors off Evan Reed, who failed to retire any Royals as their lead grew to 11-2. The Royals finished with a season high in runs and hits (17) on a steamy night in the Motor City.

Detroit hurt its chances of winning the opener of the four-game series early in the game.

Both teams lost a player to cramps.

Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter left the game in the fourth with a cramp in his right hamstring.

"It's not a strain," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus insisted.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez was replaced in the seventh because of cramps in both calves.

"He's fine," Yost said. "They made him drink a bunch of fluids and gave him an IV."

Notes

Kansas City RHP Yordano Ventura (4-5) will start against Detroit RHP Max Scherzer (8-2) on Tuesday night, when the Royals will have a chance to move into first place and push the Tigers to second in the division for the first time this season. ... Kansas City's winning streak is the longest active streak in the majors and its best since winning nine in a row from July 22 to Aug. 1 last year.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Eric Hosmer and the Royals are thrilled to score 11 runs on the Tigers in a three-inning span.  (Getty Images)
Eric Hosmer and the Royals are thrilled to score 11 runs on the Tigers in a three-inning span. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Detroit

J. Martinez
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Kansas City

O. Infante
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
 

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Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF4210112 .259
Omar Infante, 2B5224013 .249
   Pedro Ciriaco, 2B1000000 .233
Eric Hosmer, 1B6120012 .264
Billy Butler, DH4123101 .267
Alex Gordon, LF5130011 .286
Salvador Perez, C4020013 .281
   Brett Hayes, PR-C0100100 .086
Lorenzo Cain, CF5131004 .310
Mike Moustakas, 3B3000100 .174
Alcides Escobar, SS5221003 .289
Jason Vargas, P0000000 .000
   Tim Collins, P0000000 .000
   Donnie Joseph, P0000000 .000
   Michael Mariot, P0000000 .000
Totals421117945  
Batting
2B - Billy Butler (14, Verlander), Alex Gordon (20, Reed), Lorenzo Cain (10, Verlander), Alcides Escobar (20, Verlander)
HR - Omar Infante (3, Verlander)
SH - Mike Moustakas (1)
RBI - Omar Infante 4 (30), Billy Butler 3 (31), Lorenzo Cain (28), Alcides Escobar (23)
2-OUT RBI - Omar Infante 3 (11)
SB - Alcides Escobar (18, 3rd base off Verlander/Avila)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Lorenzo Cain 1
DP - Moustakas-Infante-Hosmer
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jason Vargas (W,7-2) 7722240 3.25
Tim Collins 1100110 4.15
Donnie Joseph 0.2566121 81.00
Michael Mariot 0.1000010 6.65
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Vargas 95-66, Tim Collins 27-17, Donnie Joseph 30-16, Michael Mariot 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Vargas 8-7
Batters Faced - Jason Vargas 28, Tim Collins 5, Donnie Joseph 8, Michael Mariot 1
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rajai Davis, LF5132010 .285
Ian Kinsler, 2B3010001 .288
   Don Kelly, 1B1000113 .241
Miguel Cabrera, 1B2000102 .322
   Bryan Holaday, C2010013 .310
Victor Martinez, DH5221013 .335
Torii Hunter, RF2010000 .266
   J.D. Martinez, PR-RF3114013 .270
Austin Jackson, CF4011122 .252
Nick Castellanos, 3B4110003 .274
Alex Avila, C3110011 .220
   Andrew Romine, 2B1110000 .216
Eugenio Suarez, SS2100100 .346
Justin Verlander, P0000000 .667
   Evan Reed, P0000000 .000
   Blaine Hardy, P0000000 .000
   Phil Coke, P0000000 .000
Totals37813848  
Batting
2B - Rajai Davis (11, Vargas), Nick Castellanos (14, Joseph)
HR - J.D. Martinez (4, Joseph)
SH - Eugenio Suarez (2)
RBI - Rajai Davis 2 (21), Victor Martinez (45), J.D. Martinez 4 (20), Austin Jackson (19)
2-OUT RBI - Victor Martinez (13), J.D. Martinez 4 (10)
SB - Rajai Davis (20, 2nd base off Vargas/Perez)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Rajai Davis 1, Austin Jackson 1
DP - Jackson-Kinsler-Suarez, Jackson-Kinsler-Suarez-Suarez-Kinsler-Cabrera
E - Evan Reed (1, Throwing), Eugenio Suarez (2, Misplayed grounder)
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Verlander (L,6-7) 61277221 4.98
Evan Reed 0441000 4.91
Blaine Hardy 2100220 0.00
Phil Coke 1000010 6.29
HBP - Aoki (by Justin Verlander)
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 97-65, Evan Reed 20-13, Blaine Hardy 29-17, Phil Coke 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 8-5, Evan Reed 2-0, Blaine Hardy 4-0, Phil Coke 2-0
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 30, Evan Reed 6, Blaine Hardy 9, Phil Coke 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31774
Game Time - 3:26
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - D.J. Reyburn, Third Base - Chris Guccione