Justin Verlander continued to cruise through the season as he picked up his 16th win in a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Verlander (16-5) tied C.C. Sabathia for the major league lead, pitching seven innings and giving up three runs on five hits. Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth for his 32nd consecutive save of the season to tie Willie Hernandez’s 1984 team record.
The Tigers got to Kansas City pitching early again, tacking two runs on Kansas City starter Danny Duffy (3-5) in the first inning off the bats of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Martinez had two run-scoring hits, but left the game in the eighth inning with a knee sprain.
Verlander had trouble with the Royals’ Jeff Francoeur, who hit a solo home run in the fifth, hit an RBI double and scored a run in the seventh to help Kansas City cut the lead to 4-3. Verlander was able to get Alcides Escobar to pop up to Alex Avila to end the threat and the Royals didn’t threaten again.
Verlander also got some help in the first inning from Austin Jackson, who took a home run away from Alex Gordon at the center field wall with a spectacular catch.