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Royals 5, Tigers 3 (12): Drew VerHagen ran out of luck

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Justin Verlander made a strong start, but the offense and the bullpen couldn’t support him

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers improved their draft position after the Royals landed in Detroit and won their sixth game in a row on Monday night. Royals’ starter Jason Hammel pitched into the sixth inning, but it took until the 12th for the Royals’ offense to clinch the win.

Justin Verlander came out throwing fire, striking out five Royals batters in the first two innings. He allowed two runs in the fourth inning on a pair of singles and the help of a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly, and in the sixth inning he hung a curveball for a solo home run. Otherwise, Verlander handled the Royals hitters well, tallying nine strikeouts across his seven innings.

The Tigers’ offense was slow out of the gate, reaching base only twice through the first five innings. But the bats perked up in the sixth inning, stringing together three singles and two walks to plate three runs, capped off by a game-tying hit from Alex Avila.

Then the bats went back to sleep.

The game remained knotted at three runs apiece until the 12th inning, with each Wilson pitching a clean inning, and Drew VerHagen eating two more. Unfortunately, VerHagen returned for a try at a third inning, and served up back-to-back solo home runs on a pair of pitches that were left up in the zone to Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas.

Kelvin Herrera had no trouble closing out the Tigers for the Royals’ 51st win of the season. With the loss, the Tigers drop to 45-53 and remain in fourth place.

ROARS

Justin Verlander: So maybe three runs over seven innings doesn’t result in a dazzling ERA, but Verlander was very good. He worked quickly and pounded the zone all night, allowing runs on a couple papercuts and one mistake pitch. No doubt the scouts in attendance liked what they saw, and the Comerica faithful gave him a standing ovation, well aware that this may have been Verlander’s last appearance as a Tiger.

Mikie Mahtook: Reached base four times with two singles, a walk, and a hit by pitch, though he didn’t participate in any of the scoring.

Ian Kinsler: Two hits and a run scored. That’ll do, pig.

HISSES

Bunting: Ian Kinsler singled to lead off the 10th inning and the Tigers decided to give their opponents a precious out by bunting him over to second base with Alex Presley, who was batting in the two-hole for some reason. Kinsler did not score.

Nick Castellanos: 0-for-5 with four runners left on base.

Victor Martinez: Three lazy fly balls to center field which were really just pop-ups on a total of six pitches, to go with a walk and a strikeout.