Although the team's poor play since the All-Star break has taken it out of playoff contention, the Tigers took care of business over the weekend by taking all three games in their series with the Cleveland Indians.
On Sunday, Justin Verlander worked eight sturdy innings and Will Rhymes collected a career-high four hits and scored three times in Detroit's 8-1 romp.
Verlander (14-8) yielded a lone run on seven hits while walking one and striking out eight for the Tigers, who had dropped three in a row prior to the start of their series with the Tribe.
"Obviously, it was important for the team to bounce back," said Verlander. "If we're going to make a run at this thing, all of us need to throw well. We (starting pitchers) need to give us a chance to win night in and night out. It was bigger for the team, not as much for me personally."
Rhymes finished 4-for-5 with a run batted in, Jhonny Peralta drove in three runs and Brennan Boesch added a two-run double for Detroit, which outscored the Indians 19-3 in the series but still finds itself 11 games back of the first-place Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
Hoping to keep the ball rolling for the Tigers tonight will be right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, who has lost his last three starts. Bonderman's latest setback came Wednesday in New York, as the Yankees pounded him for seven runs (six earned) and six hits in five innings to drop him to 6-9 on the year to go along with a 5.37 ERA.
"It's not good, it seems to be the way it's going for me lately," Bonderman said after that loss.
Bonderman was hit hard by the Royals the last time he faced them, surrendering seven runs in 5 2/3 frames, but is 9-7 lifetime against them with a 4.43 ERA in 24 games (19 starts).
Kansas City, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Bruce Chen, who is 8-6 with a 4.61 ERA on the year. Chen won for the third time in four starts Wednesday against Cleveland, which managed four runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings off him.
Chen beat the Tigers back on June 4 and is 1-2 with a 6.50 ERA in eight games (six starts) against them.
The Royals also enter tonight's tilt on the heels of a victory on Sunday, as Jason Kendall singled home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give his team a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox in the rubber match of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Gregor Blanco drew a two-out walk in the 10th off Chicago reliever Scott Linebrink (1-1) and swiped second and third before scoring on Kendall's base hit to left field.
"It was one of those things where I got to 3-2 and [Linebrink] put the ball in the middle of the plate," Kendall said. "I put a good swing on it and plugged the gap."
The Royals have won five of their nine meetings with the Tigers this season, including wins in three of the last four matchups.