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7th inning collapse burns bullpen in 4-2 defeat

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This team finds yet another way to lose.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

That was...not the way the Royals wanted to begin the second half.

Despite a late 2-1 lead, Kansas City's bullpen failed it in the seventh inning when it allowed Detroit to score three runs. If you missed the game and you just plan on checking out a box score, you'll see that Victor Martinez had an infield single to put the Tigers ahead for good.

Ian Kennedy started for the Royals, and after facing just one batter, he was already trailing. Ian Kinsler led off the game with a home run to left field, giving the Tigers a 1-0 advantage. But after that, Kennedy settled in to deliver an impressive start. He allowed just five more baserunners over the remainder of his night, spanning 5.1 innings of one-run ball. He threw an even 100 pitches, and he departed with his team ahead.

Tigers starter Justin Verlander cruised through the game's first five frames, but he ran into trouble in the top of the sixth. Eric Hosmer led off with a walk, and Kendrys Morales singled to put two on with none out. Then, Salvador Perez tomahawked a double off the right-field wall, plating Hosmer, but Morales also scored when Kinsler fired the ball into a vacant left field. Kennedy had his lead, and the Royals appeared to be opening the second half with the strategy they've tried to use all season: hand a late lead over to the bullpen.

With one on and one out, Luke Hochevar relieved Kennedy and got the last two outs of the sixth. But in the seventh, Hochevar allowed a game-tying home run to Tyler Collins. Jose Iglesias then singled, and Kinsler reached on a bunt single. Joakim Soria was summoned, but he walked Cameron Maybin to load the bases for Miguel Cabrera. Soria fell behind 3-0 before battling back and getting the strikeout, but that's when Martinez rolled a slow ground ball to second base. It was just slow enough to allow Martinez to reach base, and two runners scored to score.

Kansas City found itself in a 4-2 hole, and that was ultimately the final score. Hochevar was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs in 1.0 innings of work. His ERA climbed to 3.86.

Verlander earned the win: 7.0 innings, four hits, two runs, and a whopping 10 strikeouts. He got the win, improving him to 9-6.

The Royals are 45-44. They fell 1.5 games behind the Tigers for second place in the division.

Tomorrow: Danny Duffy and Mike Pelfrey at 6:10 pm.