Royals avoid sweep, defeat Tigers 5-2

Ed Zurga

SEASON SAVED

The Kansas City Royals won their first game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium this year, coming back in the seventh inning en route to a 5-2 victory on Sunday.

The Royals offense had been completely lifeless against Justin Verlander for the first six innings of the game, only collecting two hits against the righthander until the seventh (and one of those hits was a Jarrod Dyson infield single).

Kansas City decided it was time to score in the bottom of the seventh. Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas and Raul Ibanez hit three consecutive singles against Verlander, loading the bases with nobody out. Alcides Escobar drove in the first Royals run of the game, hitting the fourth single of the inning.

Dyson tied the game with a groundout to second base, plating Moustakas and advancing both runners. Brad Ausmus removed Verlander after the groundout, bringing in Ian Krol, who issued an intentional walk to Salvador Perez. That brought Norichika Aoki to the plate, who hit a weak popout to Ian Kinsler for the second out of the inning. Al Albuquerque came in after that, facing Omar Infante.

Albuquerque threw Infante four straight sliders, and Infante connected on the fourth one, sending the ball into left field and driving in the go-ahead run. Eric Hosmer added two insurance runs with a ground-rule double against Phil Coke.

Detroit scored their two runs in the top of the third against Bruce Chen. Rajai Davis and Austin Jackson hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Miguel Cabrera plated Davis with a sacrifice fly that just barely stayed in the park, while Austin Jackson scored on a J.D. Martinez single.

Chen turned in a solid performance, only allowing the two runs over 5 1/3 innings, striking out two while walking none. Ned Yost had a quick hook with Chen, pulling the starter after 81 pitches and replacing him with Yordano Ventura. Ventura worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings, while Wade Davis and Greg Holland each tossed a clean frame to close out the game.

The Royals lost the first three games of the series against Detroit, so it's a small comfort that the team avoided a sweep. Still, it is nice to get a win before the All-Star break against the AL Central leader.

Kansas City enters the break with a 48-46 record, 6 1/2 games behind Detroit in the division. The Royals seem unlikely to catch the Tigers, so get ready to scoreboard watch lots of Mariners, Angels, Blue Jays and Yankees games in the second half of the year.

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