Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander had not won a game over his last six starts and was 0-3 with two no decisions so far this season against the KC Royals. Those numbers are after the former MVP and CY Young award winner DOMINATED the Royals over his career.
His recent struggles and the Tigers struggles this season against the Royals came to an end on Friday night with a 6-3 victory. The loss dropped the Royals to 3.5 games back of the final Wild Card spot in the American League. Plus Cleveland won earlier in the day (keeping them 1.5 games back).
After the Tigers scored a run in the bottom of the first, the Royals came back to tie the game in the top of the fourth. Problem was, the Tigers came right back with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a Prince Fielder two-run home run. The Tigers would score three more in the bottom of the fifth.
Royals starter Bruce Chen struggled through 4.1 innings to take the loss. He allowed all six runs (five were earned) on seven hits and two walks. Four of the hits he allowed went for extra bases.
However, the Royals bullpen was stellar once again and gave the offense a chance to make a comeback. Lefty Francisley Bueno entered the game in the 5th inning with two men on base and left them stranded. He then pitched a perfect sixth. Louis Coleman followed with a perfect seventh, using just nine pitches (with two strikeouts). Donnie Joseph struck out the side in the eighth on 11 pitches (nine for strikes).
But the offense could not complete a comeback.
In the 8th inning, the Royals loaded the bases with two outs (two walks and a hit batter), but Joaquin Benoit entered in relief and struck out David Lough to end the threat. Twitter was calling for a pinch-hit appearance by Carlos Pena, which actually made sense. Benoit then worked around a leadoff single to pick up his 19th save of the season.