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Tigers 4, Royals 2: Justin Verlander gives Detroit ideal start to 2nd half of the year

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The Tigers have a lights-out bullpen.

Kansas City Royal v Detroit Tigers Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

In his first start after the All-Star break, Justin Verlander overpowered the Kansas City Royals. It took a while for Detroit Tigers’ offense to wake up, but they eventually strung together enough hits to pull out a 4-2 win over the Royals.

It was a display of dominance for Verlander, as the Tigers returned from the unofficial halfway point in the year. Well rested and throwing heat, he struck out the side to start the game and tallied just four hits on two runs (one earned) through seven innings.

The two runs that were driven across by the Royals were largely the result of defensive miscues by Steven Moya, though it didn’t help that the Tigers couldn’t string together solid hits off Kansas City starter Ian Kennedy. Regardless, Verlander was splendid and his 10 strikeouts were every bit as dazzling.

Verlander had a devastating curveball, and his fastball hit 97 mph several times, topping out at 98 mph. As steady as his offspeed stuff was, it was his heat that kept the Royals batters guessing for much of the night. Justin Wilson was equally lights-out, giving Detroit a 1-2-3 eighth, and Francisco Rodriguez slammed the door.

Ian Kinsler would get to Kennedy two pitches into the game on a solo home run, but it took a home run by Tyler Collins to get the offense going. His home run in the seventh started a three-run spot, capped by Victor Martinez’s two-run infield single after the team loaded the bases.

ROARS:

Ian Kinsler: He took the second pitch of the game deep to left-center for a home run.

Justin Verlander: Gave up just four hits and was striking out batters left and right.

Tyler Collins: Smoked a solo shot to right, tying the game in the seventh after Steven Moya’s defense put the team behind.

Victor Martinez: Half the credit goes to the Royals for their ineptitude on defense, but V-Mart still managed to run out a two-run infield single, giving the Tigers the 4-2 lead in the seventh.

HISSES:

Steven Moya: In his defense, he hasn’t been allowed to settle in for any stretch and he’s never had defensive issues quite this bad before. Even so, his miscues in the outfield were disastrous given the lack of run support by the Tigers’ offense. It should’ve been a 1-1 game at worst, but instead Moya’s mistakes on a simple flyout resulted in a two-run spot for the Royals.

STATS AND INFO:
  • Ian Kinsler’s leadoff homer marked the 35th of his career, which ties him with Bobby Bonds (played 1968-81) for eighth-most in MLB history.
  • Kinsler’s homer was his 17th of the season. He had last hit one out of the park on July 3 at the Rays.
  • By giving up a homer to Kinsler in the first, Ian Kennedy has allowed at least one homer in eight straight games. It’s the second-longest streak of his career, and certainly not a good one.
  • Justin Verlander struck out 10-or-more batters for the fourth time this. It’s the 33rd time in his career he’s done so. The last time was on May 24, 2016 against the Phillies.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:

Source: FanGraphs