Duffy, 4 homers lead Royals over Tigers

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Associated Press
(DETROIT, AP) — Justin Verlander has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball for the last six weeks.
For most of Tuesday night, he was again.
Verlander came into the game having gone 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his previous eight starts, then only allowed four hits and a walk in seven-plus innings to the Kansas City Royals.
The problem was that three of the hits were home runs, and the Royals went on to a 6-1 victory.
“Most of the time, I’ll take my chances with giving up four hits, but tonight, every mistake I made got hit into the seats,” Verlander said. “They say solo homers don’t hurt you, but that obviously wasn’t the case today. It was just one of those games.”
Raul Mondesi, Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer all homered off Verlander, but Mondesi was the only one who got an ice bath after the game. Batting in the third inning, he hit a hanging slider just inside the right-field foul pole for his first career homer.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to stay fair, so I just started running,” he said. “I’m sure everyone could see me smiling when it went over the fence. That was a great feeling.”
Hitting it off Verlander made things even better.
“It makes it more special that I hit it in my first at-bat against that guy,” he said. “He’s a great, great pitcher, and I hit my first homer against him.”
Kendrys Morales added Kansas City’s fourth solo homer, hitting one off Mark Lowe in the ninth.
Danny Duffy (10-1) outdueled Verlander, allowing three hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out five.
“You’d expect a pitcher’s duel from those two, and that’s really what it was,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Danny was great, and Verlander threw the ball really well. We only got four hits off him, but somehow, three of them were homers. You don’t expect that.”
Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered for Detroit’s only run. The Tigers have lost seven of nine.
“We just need to win,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “Our offense is cold right now, and the opposing pitching has a lot to do with that, but sometimes you just go cold as a group.”
Kansas City’s second hit came in the fifth inning, when Gordon hit another slider into nearly the same spot as Mondesi. Gordon came into the game with a .205 career average against the Tigers ace.
Duffy only needed 41 pitches over the first four innings, but Saltalamacchia put the Tigers on the board with a fifth-inning homer into the shrubs above the centerfield fence.
Hosmer restored Kansas City’s two-run lead with a seventh-inning homer to center field that was estimated at 443 feet. It was the fifth hit of the game — four solo homers and a double by Detroit’s J.D. Martinez.
Victor Martinez got the game’s first single in the seventh. J.D. Martinez hit into a force at second, but moved to third on a wild pitch and a fly ball. Duffy, though, struck out James McCann to end the inning.
Detroit’s defense fell apart at the start of the eighth. Gordon hit a routine grounder to third, but ended up on second when Saltalamacchia missed Casey McGehee’s throw. Alcides Escobar singled to left with Gordon taking third, then moved to second when Justin Upton lobbed the ball into the infield.
Verlander walked Mondesi on his 112th and final pitch, loading the bases. Bruce Rondon came in from the bullpen and struck out Paolo Orlando, but Cheslor Cuthbert hit a blooper to shallow center that Ian Kinsler got under, but dropped.
Kinsler recovered in time to force Escobar at third, but Gordon scored to make to it 4-1. Lorenzo Cain doubled to give the Royals a four-run lead.
Royals: Three pitchers with long-term injuries are scheduled to make rehab performances this week. Kris Medlen, out since May with a rotator cuff problem, started Tuesday night for Surprise in the Arizona League, while Jason Vargas (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to start for Double-A Northwest Arizona on Wednesday. Mike Minor (shoulder) is supposed to pitch for Triple-A Omaha on Friday. Vargas and Minor have both missed the entire season.
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera was out of the starting lineup Tuesday with a strained left biceps. The injury, sustained in Monday’s loss to the Royals, is not considered serious. Cabrera said after the game that he hopes to play on Wednesday. … Jordan Zimmermann (neck) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, and is scheduled to throw another on Thursday.
The Tigers announced shortly before the first pitch that they had traded utilityman Mike Aviles and minor-league catcher Kade Scivicque to Atlanta for infielder Erick Aybar. General manager Al Avila said the move was designed to give the Tigers more offense off the bench. Aybar is hitting .242 this season as opposed to Aviles’ .210.
The teams finish their three-game series on Wednesday evening, with Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura (8-9, 4.60) facing Anibal Sanchez (6-12, 6.31). Sanchez has allowed 23 homers in 19 starts and only lasted four innings in his last outing.