May 2, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
The Detroit Tigers fell to the Kansas City Royals 3-2, splitting their rain shortened series 1-1. Joaquin Benoit took the loss in relief of Justin Verlander, his record dropping to 0-1. Getting the last 2 outs in the 8th was enough to give Tim Collins his first win of the season for the Royals, Jonathan Broxton closed out the 9th for his 4th save. Verlander did keep his streak alive of going 6+ innings or more at 47 straight games.
The Royals got to Verlander in the 1st inning. Jarrod Dyson led off of with a walk, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a ground out, scoring on Eric Hosmer's double to the deepest reaches of Comerica Park's center field. 1-0 Royals.
Verlander steadied himself from then on, scattering hits and stranding runners. The Royals squandered runners in scoring position in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. Alex Avila threw out Alcides Escobar attempting to steal 3rd to end any chance of a threat in the 5th inning.
In the 6th, the Royals extended their lead to 2-0, despite not hitting a ball hard. Alex Gordon led off with a looping single to center. Verlander didn't help his cause by plunking Billy Butler in the elbow. Gordon came around to score on consecutive ground outs.
All the while, the Tigers' offense was making Royals' starter Jonathan Sanchez (who entered the game with a 6.75 ERA) look like the next coming of Cy Young. Sanchez held the Tigers hitless through 4 2/3 innings, Alex Avila's double breaking up the no-no. Suddenly flustered, Sanchez walked Brad Eldred and Danny Worth to load the bases. But Austin Jackson, coming off a 4 hit game Tuesday night, weakly grounded to short, ending the Tigers' threat.
The Royals' bullpen took over from that point. In the 7th, and Kelvin Herrera throwing 100 MPH heat on the mound, Avila worked a 2 out walk. Eldred followed with a double into the left center gap, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd for Ramon Santiago, pinch hitting for Worth. The Royals countered, bringing in Aaron Crow to relieve. The Royals won the strategy battle, Crow inducing Santiago into an inning ending 4-3 ground out.
Verlander was Verlander in the 8th, allowing Dyson to reach 3rd via a throwing error on a pick off attempt, then striking out Butler and Hosmer to strand him. Verlander's day ended after 8 strong innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 runs, striking out 7, throwing an almost standard 123 pitches.
In the 8th, the scuffling Tigers finally got on the scoreboard, striking quickly. Jackson led off with a single, Brennan Boesch then smashing a liner over the right field wall to tie the game. The home run took Verlander off the hook, though he deserved better than just a no-decision.
But in the 9th, Joaquin Benoit couldn't hold the Royals in check. Mike Moustakas doubled off the wall in right with 1 out, moving to 3rd on a ground out. With 2 out and 2 strikes, Chris Getz fouled off a handful of pitches before hitting a ball into the hole at short. Jhonny Peralta made a nice play, but Getz easily beat the throw for an infield hit, Moustakas scoring to give the Royals a 3-2 lead.
Broxton came on to close, allowing a 1 out Avila single (his 2nd hit, the Tigers only had 4 in total). But Andy Dirks grounded into an easy, tailor made 4-6-3 double play to end what was another extremely frustrating loss for Tigers fans.
No matter how well you pitch, you have to score. 2 runs isn't going to cut it, even against the bottom of the division Royals.