Kansas City's Danny Duffy will be tasked with keeping Miguel Cabrera and company in check Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium while Justin Verlander tries to end his longest ever winless stretch against the Royals.
The Tigers (82-59) suffered a 20-4 loss at Boston on Wednesday, surrendering eight homers in their worst defeat since a 26-5 setback to Kansas City on Sept. 9, 2004. Then they turned around and handed the Royals (73-68) a 16-2 loss on Friday, just their fourth defeat in 13 games.
Kansas City is 4 1/2 games off the pace in the AL wild-card race while Detroit owns a 6 1/2-game edge over Cleveland in the AL Central.
Cabrera was 1 for 3 with two walks and drove in his major league-leading 131st run after missing four of five contests with an abdominal strain. His return seemed to give the rest of the lineup a lift, too, with Omar Infante recording career highs of five hits and six RBIs and Andy Dirks going 5 for 5.
Detroit recorded a season-high 26 hits.
"The hits just fell tonight," said Dirks, who is 27 for 66 (.409) in his last 19 games versus Kansas City. "That's baseball. When I hit it, it just went in the holes."
Duffy (2-0, 1.35 ERA) comes off a disappointing outing, lasting 3 2-3 innings in a 3-1 win versus Seattle on Monday, allowing a run, five hits and four walks while stranding six runners.
"I didn't have it today," Duffy said.
The left-hander had thrown 12 2-3 scoreless innings over his previous two starts, including six innings of one-hit ball in a 2-1 win at Detroit on Aug. 16. He had been 0-3 with a 5.16 ERA in his four previous starts against the Tigers.
Cabrera is 4 for 12 off Duffy and owns a 1.291 on-base plus slugging against lefties this year.
Verlander (12-10, 3.59) was the loser in that Aug. 16 contest despite limiting the Royals to two runs and seven hits over eight innings. He has notched at least one win over Kansas City each of the last seven years but is 0-2 in four starts this year despite a 2.60 ERA. He's 15-4 with a 2.71 ERA in 27 career outings against the Royals.
Verlander is also winless in his last five starts overall, with the Tigers losing each time. He threw seven shutout innings in a 4-0 loss to the Indians on Sunday.
"He pitched great," manager Jim Leyland said of Verlander's first scoreless performance in nine starts. "We just couldn't get the big hit when we really needed it."
Billy Butler is batting .344 over his last 31 games and is 27 for 62 (.435) off Verlander, including 6 for 9 this season.
Detroit's Austin Jackson , who was 3 for 6 with four RBIs Friday, is hitting .380 through his last 17 contests with 17 runs and 14 RBIs.
Tigers top prospect Nick Castellanos is expected to make his first big league start Saturday, according to the team's official website. He went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs while winning MVP honors in the 2012 Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium.
|September 04, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Bilateral shin splints|
|August 24, 2013||Jose Iglesias||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|August 17, 2013||Omar Infante||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back stiffness|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 11, 2013||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 31, 2013||Miguel Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Strained lower abdomen|
|Kansas City Royals|
|September 05, 2013||Salvador Perez||Day-to-Day||Concussion|
|September 03, 2013||Noel Arguelles||60-Day DL||Left shoulder|
|August 13, 2013||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|August 11, 2013||Miguel Tejada||60-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|August 09, 2013||Lorenzo Cain||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|August 09, 2013||Lorenzo Cain||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Salvador Perez is on a power surge and the Kansas City Royals keeping hanging on in the wild-card race.
Perez hit a two-run homer off Justin Verlander and the Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 on Saturday night.
Perez drove a two-out pitch over the left-field wall to put the Royals ahead 4-2. He is hitting .347 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs in his past 21 games.
"Soon as I hit it, I knew the ball was gone," Perez said. "I hit it pretty good."
Verlander (12-11) is 0-3 with three no-decisions in six starts since an Aug. 6 victory at Cleveland.
The Tigers have dropped his past six starts and are 13-17 in his 30 starts this season.
"I think he did a great job," Tigers catcher Brayan Pena said. "The pitch to Perez it was a pitch down. He struck out a lot of guys and he kept the ball down. It was just one pitch that hurt us."
The Royals have won all five games Verlander has started against them this season. Verlander allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings, while walking one and striking out seven.
"You can say what you want, but Verlander is tough as nails," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's as good as they come. And we've done very well against him. They've all been nip-and-tuck, one-run games for the most part, but we've come out on top and that's all that matters."
Wade Davis (7-10), the second of five Kansas City pitchers, picked up the victory on his 28th birthday, entering with the bases loaded and allowing just one runner to score when he walked Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded after being down in the count 0-2.
"I'm comfortable in that situation, keeping a low heart rate," Davis said. "I've faced him (Cabrera) a lot. I knew what he was trying to do. I wasn't going to give in and give him something to whack off the wall or over it. That was just a walk, but hey it paid off."
Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth for his 39th save in 42 chances.
Cabrera, who leads the American League with 133 RBIs, also singled home another run in the seventh.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy failed to pitch deep into the game in back-to-back starts. Duffy, who walked four in 3 2-3 innings in his previous start, walked five Tigers in 4 1-3 innings.
"I didn't have my best command, but the stuff was there," Duffy said. "As long as we're shaking hands after the game, that's good with me."
Duffy walked two in the first inning and that led to a run when Price Fielder's single scored Austin Jackson , who led off the game with a four-pitch walk.
"Duffy was a little wild, which we were hoping for, but we just couldn't come up with a big hit," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Duffy allowed a Nick Castellanos infield single in the fifth, and with one out, walked Roman Santiago and Jackson on eight pitches to load the bases. Davis replaced Duffy and walked Cabrera to score Castellanos.
"It took Duffy about five hitters to find his slot," Yost said. "Once he found it, he was pretty good from the second, third and fourth and started to lose it in the fifth. That's when we brought Wade in and man what a great job he did.
"Danny did a great job of keeping us in the game. Your pitch count can get up, but you can't let the game get away from you. Every time Danny has gotten big pitch counts or struggled with command, his stuff is so good, it keeps us in the game."
Emilio Bonifacio 's bunt single in the third scored Alcides Escobar with the first Kansas City run.
"That's part of my game - bunting," Bonifacio said. "I had that in mind soon as Escobar got to third."
Escobar's single in the fifth scored Jarrod Dyson , who walked and stole second.
When Pena threw out Bonifacio stealing second in the first inning, it ended the Tigers streak at 24 without catching a runner attempting to steal. Bonifacio had been perfect in his first 13 stolen attempts in 23 games since joining the Royals.
Notes: Royals 2B Chris Getz , who left in the third inning Tuesday with dizziness, has been cleared to play, passing tests to avoid the seven-day concussion DL. ... Royals C Salvador Perez , who was on the concussion list in early August and left the game Thursday woozy after being struck by a foul tip, opted not to change masks. Perez said he didn't feel comfortable with a new one that offered better protection. ... Tigers SS Jose Iglesias missed his second straight game with shin splints.