Kansas City, MO – Mike Moustakas had three hits, including the go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning as the Kansas City Royals edge the Detroit Tigers, 9-8, in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Moustakas finished with three RBI, while Billy Butler went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Alex Gordon added a pair of hits and drove in two runs for the Royals, who snapped a two-game skid. Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez also drove in runs.
Moustakas' go-ahead hit made a winner out of Aaron Crow (3-1), who surrendered the game-tying home run to Jhonny Peralta in the top of the eighth inning. Greg Holland allowed the tying run to reach third in the top of the ninth, but escaped to record his eighth save of the season.
Delmon Young clubbed a two-run home run and Prince Fielder added a two-run double for the Tigers, who had their brief two-game winning streak snapped.
Brayan Villarreal (3-4) allowed a run on two hits over 1 2/3 innings behind starter Justin Verlander, who gave up eight runs on 12 hits over 5 2/3 innings.
"Clearly I wasn't good enough," said Verlander. "I missed location a little bit. ... I feel like most of the balls they hit hard were in that first inning just because I missed location."
Butler started the winning rally in the eighth with a one-out single and pinch-runner Lorenzo Cain swiped second. After Perez fouled out, Phil Coke came out of the Detroit bullpen to face Moustakas, who ripped one down the line in right field.
"We got some hits that found some holes and it was good to do that, especially when we were down by three right at the start," Butler said.
Things got interesting in the top of the ninth as Holland walked Austin Jackson to begin the inning. Jackson went to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch. Holland struck out Miguel Cabrera and intentionally walked Fielder to face Delmon Young, who had already homered earlier in the game.
Young smashed one off Holland deep down the right field line that hugged the pole and was called foul. The umpiring crew reviewed it for several minutes and determined that the ball was indeed foul. Young then flied out to Gordon in left field end the game.
Detroit got off to a quick start, putting three runs on the board in the first inning when Andy Dirks doubled home Jackson and Young clubbed a two- run shot.
The Royals answered with a trio of runs in the home portion. Gordon started the rally with a two-out double and scored on a single up the middle by Butler. Perez followed with a double and Moustakas brought both runners home with a single.
The Royals tagged Verlander for four more runs in their next at-bat to take a 7-3 lead. Johnny Giavotella and Jarrod Dyson ripped back-to-back singles before Escobar drove home Giavotella for the go-ahead run. Gordon followed with a two-run double and Butler smacked a run-scoring single up the middle to cap the big inning.
Detroit got three runs back in the third inning. Jackson began the frame with a single and Cabrera ripped one back up the middle two batters later to put runners on first and second. Fielder followed with a two-run double and Alex Avila singled home Fielder later in the inning.
Perez doubled in Dyson with two outs in the sixth to widen the KC margin to 8-6, but the Tigers got it right back in the seventh courtesy of an RBI single by Cabrera.
The Tigers got even in the eighth inning when Peralta got a belt-high fastball from Crow and drilled it into the left field seats.
Verlander came into Tuesday's game with a 14-2 record over 21 career starts against the Royals ... Despite the loss, the Tigers have won 17 of the last 24 games between the teams. Detroit is also 69-48 against KC since Jim Leyland became manager in 2006 ... Verlander had recorded a quality start in each of his previous four starts in August. He finished with six strikeouts and is just two shy of whiffing 200 hitters for the fourth consecutive season.