Justin Verlander was on his game on Saturday, winning a 4-2 decision in a pitching duel with Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar.
Both pitchers threw seven innings, but Verlander (6-4) was able to pick up the win behind a three-run eighth inning by the Tigers offense. Leading 1-0 on a Miguel Cabrera solo home run, Detroit got RBI hits from both Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge in the eighth off Kansas City reliever Blake Wood to increase their lead.
Kansas City wouldn’t go away, however. Verlander was pulled after allowing the first two runners to reach base in the eighth. Joel Zumaya came in and promptly threw six straight balls and was yanked in favor of Phil Coke. Coke got an out but gave up two runs, prompting Tigers manager Jim Leyland to bring in closer Jose Valverde for an extended save opportunity.
Valverde got Kansas City to ground into a double play to end the inning, then retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to close the game.
Cabrera went 2-for-4 to increase his average to .358 on the season. Ramon Santiago, Alex Avila, and Carlos Guillen all had two-hit nights.
Hochevar (5-4) struck out 10 batters for the Royals, but still picked up the loss.