Kansas City, MO – Salvador Perez knocked in three runs and Mike Moustakas went 3-for-4 with a solo homer as the Kansas City Royals posted a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals registered their second straight win to begin this three-game series after battering Justin Verlander for six runs -- five earned -- over the All-Star hurler's 5 2/3 innings of work.
Verlander (10-7) surrendered eight hits, none bigger than Moustakas' blast in the bottom of the fifth that snapped a 5-5 tie, and walked four to lose for only the third time in 18 lifetime decisions against Kansas City.
"We were fully aware we were [2-15] against Verlander," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Our focus today was to go out and give him a tough game, and that's what we did."
Eric Hosmer added two hits and an RBI for the Royals, who improved to 5-2 against the AL Central-leading Tigers this season.
Jeremy Guthrie (9-7) overcame a rocky beginning to last six innings and collect the win despite allowing five runs and 10 hits. Four Kansas City relievers held Detroit scoreless the rest of the way, with Greg Holland stranding the tying run at second in the ninth to convert his 17th consecutive save chance.
Alex Avila and Victor Martinez each had three hits to pace the Tigers offensively, with Avila finishing with two RBI and Martinez driving in one run.
The Royals were faced with a 3-1 deficit after 2 1/2 innings, but reached a laboring Verlander for a pair of runs in both the third and fourth to move in front.
Verlander set down the initial two hitters of the bottom of the third before Hosmer singled and Billy Butler walked to bring up Perez, who drilled a fastball into the right-field corner for a double that plated both runners and tied the game.
More trouble came for Verlander in the fourth, as the Royals strung together three consecutive singles to load the bases with none out. Two batters later, Chris Getz beat out a potential inning-ending double-play grounder to send in the go-ahead run, and Verlander then walked Alex Gordon and Hosmer in succession to give Kansas City a 5-3 lead.
Detroit countered in the top of the fifth, helped out by Hosmer stumbling at the first-base bag on an Andy Dirks grounder that was ruled a hit and loaded the bases with two out. Avila followed with a sharp single off second baseman Elliot Johnson's glove that brought home Martinez and Jhonny Peralta to even the score.
The tie didn't last long, as Moustakas socked Verlander's 2-0 pitch into the visitor's bullpen in right to put the Royals back ahead by a 6-5 count.
"It was one of those things when you know you don't have it out there," Verlander said. "It was a constant battle."
Detroit threatened in the eighth, with an Avila single and pinch-hitter Don Kelly's walk against Aaron Crow putting two on with no one out and both runners advancing on Austin Jackson's sacrifice bunt. Crow beared down, however, getting both Torii Hunter and MLB batting leader Miguel Cabrera to ground out and keep it a one-run game.
Martinez just missed a home run with one out in the ninth, settling for a one- out double off the right-field wall, but Holland kept pinch-runner Hernan Perez at second to nail down his 24th save of the year.
Detroit mustered just two singles against Royals pitching during a 1-0 loss in Friday's series opener, but found greater success facing Guthrie early on.
Guthrie aided the Tigers' cause by walking two of the first three hitters he faced, then surrendered back-to-back RBI singles to Prince Fielder and Martinez that quickly staked Detroit to a 2-0 edge.
The Royals cut the margin in half during their portion of the opening inning, with Gordon working Verlander for a leadoff walk before advancing to third on a Butler single in front of a Perez sac fly.
Detroit swiftly regained a two-run advantage, however, when Avila doubled to begin the second and later came around on Hunter's deep fly ball to left.
The win was the 700th of Royals manager Ned Yost's career ... Verlander was dealt his first loss to Kansas City since a 5-1 setback at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 9, 2009 ... Getz left the game after spraining his left knee while diving for a ground ball in the fifth inning ... Guthrie has won his last four starts against the Tigers held in Kansas City, where the Tigers are 3-8 over their last 11 visits ... The Royals have gone 10 straight games without committing an error, one shy of a team record ... Kansas City has won six of its last seven matchups decided by one run.