Remember that moment on May 28th when the Royals just got done getting swept by the Astros and found themselves four games under .500 and 6.5 games back in the Central?
This is that moment for the Tigers.
The Kansas City Royals--yes, those Kansas City Royals--are half a game out and just got done beating the living shit out of the Tigers. While hyperbole is a tool often incorporated by yours truly, it is not being employed in this situation.
The Tigers sent Justin Verlander to the mound. Before Verlander was body-switched with Luke Hochevar ca. 2009 in mid May, the Tigers and Verlander were cruising. Sure, Verlander wasn't the blind force of oppression that he was from 2009 through 2012, but Verlander was sporting a 2.67 ERA and a 43:21 K:BB through his first eight starts. Having completed 97.2 IP after this start, Verlander saw his ERA rise by 0.37 points today.
That will happen when you give up seven earned runs in six innings of work.
Leaving it there would undersell what the Royals did to Verlander, whose ERA is now an eye-opening 4.98.
The Royals were dispatched of easily in the first with a ten-pitch inning. They bailed out Verlander in the second after he issued a lead-off five-pitch walk to Billy Butler and followed with a single allowed to Alex Gordon. After striking out Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain flied out to center. Of course, Billy Butler decided that with one out, he was going to make his way for third base without tagging up. He was needlessly doubled up at second and Verlander was out of the second with no damage done.
The Royals went quietly in the third and spread three singles around in the fourth but did nothing with them. They entered the top of the fifth down 2 - 0 after Royals' starter Jason Vargas allowed a run in the home half of both the third and fourth innings.
That 2 - 0 lead was quickly erased as the Royals followed a Mike Moustakas fly out to left with an Alcides Escobar double, Norichika Aoki single, Omar Infante RBI single, Eric Hosmer infield single, and a three-run double from Billy Butler. After an Alex Gordon strike out for the second out of the fourth, Salvador Perez singled to left only to have
Dave Owens Mike Jirschele wave Butler home. This being Billy Butler, he was out at home. Still, the Royals plated four in the frame and found themselves up 4 - 0.
Another inning, another three runs thanks to an Omar Infante three-run shot.
Then Lorenzo Cain did this to maintain the 7 - 2 lead.
In the top of the seventh, the Royals took advantage of two Detroit errors and pushed another four runs across the plate to run the score to 11 - 2.
The 11th, 12th, and 13th arms in the Royals bullpen decided to make things interesting in the eighth and ninth innings because why not, but even after Donnie Joseph--who Yost left in to give up six runs--gave up a grand slam to J.D. Martinez to bring the score to a much closer than it actually was 11 - 8, the eleven-spot the Royals tagged on Verlander and reliever Evan Reed proved more than enough.
The Tigers now nurse a scant half-game lead on the resurgent Royals. They'll call on reigning Cy Young Award winner and Mizzou alum, Max Scherzer to try to stop the hemorrhaging.