There was a time, not too long ago, when the Royals pretty much rolled over whenever Detroit ace Justin Verlander took the mound. No longer. The Royals nursed a one-run lead through the closing innings Saturday night, after a Mike Moustakas homer in the fifth, for a 6-5 victory over Verlander and the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. That was just their third victory against Verlander in 18 career decisions, but it marked the fifth time in his last six starts that they won the game. That includes three victories this season. Not that it was easy. “That’s Justin Verlander out there,” Moustakas said. “When that guy is on, he’s tough to hit. He tried to run a sinker down and away, and I was able to elevate it a little bit. It ended up getting out of the yard for us. “Apparently, it was a huge run.” All-Star closer Greg Holland closed out a victory for Jeremy Guthrie, 9-7, by pitching around Victor Martinez’s one-out double in the ninth. Off the bat, it appeared ticketed for a game-tying homer to right. Martinez stood a moment to admire it before starting to run, which led Holland to believe it must be out. “When you see a guy standing there in the box … obviously, I thought it was out,” Holland said. “He stood there so long. “I was kind of hoping it would get a favorable kick off the wall so we could throw him out at second. That would have been awesome.” It turned out fine. Holland retired the next two hitters for his 17th straight successful save conversion and 24th overall in 26 chances. Guthrie got the victory despite allowing five runs and 10 hits in six innings because a bullpen relay of Tim Collins, Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow and Holland combined for three scoreless innings. The numbers on Guthrie were deceptive. He deserved better from a defense he has often praised in the past. A play not made in the first inning by right fielder David Lough led to two runs, and some infield follies produced a two-run fifth. “He started out real rocky,” manager Ned Yost said, “and then he really got it together in the third inning. The two runs (in the fifth), none of that was his fault. He should have been out of that inning with no runs.” Moustakas broke a 5-5 tie with a two-out homer in the fifth inning on a 92-mph fastball from Verlander, who dropped to 10-7 after yielding six runs in his 52/3 innings. “I just wasn’t in sync,” he said. “Today wasn’t where I needed to be. So, hopefully, that time off (for the All-Star break) just threw me out of sync.” The Tigers had chances to take him off the hook, particularly in the eighth when they put runners at second and third with one out before Crow retired Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera on grounders to third. Crow later deadpanned: “I just didn’t want Holland to have to face Miggy in the ninth.” Problems started in the fifth when second baseman Chris Getz suffered a knee injury on Prince Fielder’s one-out grounder. Getz was playing deep, and his leg gave out when he tried to reverse course on the outfield grass. The injury was later diagnosed as a sprained medial ligament in his left knee. It is not believed to be serious, but he will be evaluated further on Sunday.
Royals’ bullpen saves day in 6-5 victory over Tigers
Kansas City Star | Jul 21