The right-hander tries for a fifth straight winning start by continuing his success against the host Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
Verlander (8-4, 3.71 ERA) has won four in a row despite giving up 32 hits and posting a 4.85 ERA. He's allowed three runs over seven innings in each of his last three starts, most recently during Friday's 7-5 win over Cleveland.
"I've still got a ways to go," Verlander told the Tigers' official website after he allowed all his runs in the fifth inning. "I've still got some work to do. But it's nice to be able to go out there and get wins for our ballclub."
Fortunately for Verlander, Detroit (36-27) has scored 34 runs in those four outings. He's received an average 7.20 runs of support this season.
Verlander is 15-2 with a 2.67 ERA in 24 starts versus Kansas City (29-33), including 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA in his last nine. He gave up two runs over seven innings of an 8-3, 10-inning loss to the Royals on April 25.
The Tigers ace is 9-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 14 starts at Kauffman Stadium, but was tagged for eight runs and 12 hits in 5 2-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-8 loss Aug. 28.
Scheduled Kansas City starter James Shields (2-6, 2.81) yielded three runs and five hits in eight innings in the April win over Verlander and the Tigers. That dropped his ERA to 3.63 while going 5-1 in 10 starts versus Detroit.
"Whenever you have some success against a team, you always have some confidence, but I don't look back at what I've done in the past," he told the Royals' official website.
Maybe that's because Shields hasn't won since April 30, but owns a 2.65 ERA while going 0-4 in seven starts since then. He's yielded three runs in 14 innings as the Royals won his last two outings. The eight runs Kansas City has totaled in those two equaled what it scored in Shields' previous five.
The right-hander gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings of a 4-2 win over Houston on Friday.
"He threw great again and is about as consistent as they come," teammate Billy Butler said. "He competes his tail off out there. It's unfortunate we couldn't get him a win (Friday), but it's a team win. If he can pitch like that, he'll win his fair share of games."
Kansas City's season-high six-game winning streak ended with a 3-2 loss to Detroit on Tuesday. Victor Martinez 's sacrifice fly snapped a tie in the eighth to help send the Tigers to their seventh win in 10 contests.
It was the first time in 21 innings the Kansas City bullpen allowed a run.
Detroit's Omar Infante added three hits, and is batting .375 in eight games this month. He's 10 for 19 in his last five against the Royals.
Butler is batting .418 with two homers against Verlander, but went 0 for 3 and was ejected for arguing a call after he struck out with a runner on second in the ninth Tuesday.
He's 1 for 10 in three games since going 9 for 18 in the previous five.
|June 08, 2013||Anibal Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder stiffness|
|May 12, 2013||Austin Jackson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|April 21, 2013||Octavio Dotel||Day-to-Day||Elbow inflammation|
|April 20, 2013||Octavio Dotel||60-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|Kansas City Royals|
|May 16, 2013||Jarrod Dyson||15-Day DL||Right ankle sprain|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- After striking out his first three times, Lorenzo Cain came through in the ninth inning for the Kansas City Royals .
Cain hit a tying, two-run homer off Jose Valverde with two outs in the ninth and Eric Hosmer had a winning RBI single in the 10th, helping the Royals rally for a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
Cain struck out three times against Detroit ace Justin Verlander , who pitched seven scoreless innings.
"It was a crazy game from having the hat trick to being able to get a ball out of here was huge," Cain said. "I was glad I was able to get a good pitch and get it over the fence for us to tie the game up."
Drew Smyly pitched a one-hit eighth, then allowed a leadoff single in the ninth to Hosmer and was replaced by Valverde. He retired Santiago Perez on a flyout and struck out Billy Butler as Hosmer stole second - becoming the first Kansas City runner in scoring position.
Cain fouled off three pitches, then sent an 85 mph offering over the wall in left-center. Valverde blew a save for the third time in 12 chances.
Cain was not sure it was going to clear the fence.
"I put it on the barrel, but after that it was either wind or carry," Cain said. "I thought it was in the gap. I was just blowing for it to go out for me and it did."
Verlander did not allow a batter past first base, giving up three singles, striking out eight and walking two in a 117-pitch outing, his second-highest total this season.
"It was a tough outing, Verlander being Verlander as usual, dominating," Cain said. "I say continue to battle, got a pitch up, put a nice easy swing on it and it got over the fence."
Verlander has a 15-2 record with a 2.56 ERA in 25 starts against the Royals.
"It hurts," Verlander said. "You've got two outs and two strikes, and when the ball leaves the yard, it's not a good feeling. It only tied the game, so we immediately need to change our mindset to OK, let's win it. To lose it that way, it's a tough pill to swallow.
"Losing period stinks. When you lose one that's so close to a win makes it that much more difficult."
Greg Holland (2-1) pitched a perfect 10th, striking out Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera and retiring Prince Fielder on a lineout, and Miguel Tejada singled off Phil Coke (0-4) leading off the bottom half.
Tejada advanced to third on Alcides Escobar 's sacrifice and Alex Gordon 's groundout to first, and Hosmer singled to center.
"That was a great win," Hosmer said. "We're down to our last strike with the closer on the mound. That's just the character of this team. We're not going to give up until the last out is made.
"Cain had a day like he did, the first couple of at-bats, strikes out. The way he comes up in the last inning with two strikes, it's battling right there."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland's post-game press conference was brief, lasting 97 seconds.
"Verlander showed why he's the horse today," Leyland said. "He was terrific, absolutely terrific. He stepped up today. That's the way he's been the seven years I've been here."
But the Tigers' bullpen remains an Achilles' heel with a 4-12 record and eight blown saves.
"He (Valverde) got two quick outs and then he hung a splitter," Leyland said. "He left it out over the plate. It didn't split and the kid hit it out. The key was the ninth inning. We got two quick outs and two strikes and the guy hit it out."
James Shields , acquired from Tampa Bay in a December trade, allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings for the Royals. He is 0-4 in eight starts since beating the Rays on April 30 despite a 2.64 ERA in that span.
Detroit built its lead on Fielder's RBI single in the first and consecutive doubles by Matt Tuiasosopo and Brayan Pena in the fifth. Pena, who played the four previous years with Kansas City, has three doubles, two homer and 10 RBIs in his past 16 games.
Royals right fielder David Lough robbed Cabrera of a run-producing extra-base hit in the third when he made a diving catch of his liner to the gap with Hunter on first. Lough received a standing ovation from the Kauffman Stadium crowd of 24,564, while Shields tipped his cap and waited for Lough in front of the Royals dugout to congratulate him.
"If you rate it a 15 on a 10 (scale), that's how I would rate his catch," Shields said. "It's a very crucial part of the game. That's going to be up there for catch of the year as far as I'm concerned."
NOTES: Royals manager Ned Yost will miss the game Thursday at Tampa Bay to attend his daughter's wedding. Bench coach Chino Cadahia will manage in Yost's absence. ... Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez , who sat out his previous start with shoulder tightness, is scheduled to start Saturday at Minnesota. ... The Tigers had three sacrifice bunts, including two by Ramon Santiago . They had only eight in their first 64 games.