The Kansas City Royals take aim at a three-game sweep coming out of the All-Star Break as they entertain the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday the Royals, now in third place in the American League Central and six games out of first, had their work cut out for them as they faced off against Justin Verlander. While the Detroit hurler has had his issues this season, historically he had dominated Kansas City, winning 15 of his previous 17 decisions all-time versus the Royals.
However, this time around KC wasn't fazed as it chased Verlander before the end of the sixth inning, en route to a 6-5 home win. Mike Moustakas accounted for three of the nine hits collected by the Royals, notching his seventh home run and scoring twice. Eric Hosmer pitched in with two hits and Salvador Perez knocked in three for the home team as well.
"This is a good team we've got here, man. We're resilient and we never say die," Moustakas said after the Royals registered their first win against Verlander since Sept. 9, 2009.
Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie was credited with the win as he allowed five runs on 10 hits and a couple of walks through six innings. Guthrie struck out six as well.
The bullpen locked it up for the Royals, permitting just three hits and a walk in the final three innings, with Greg Holland earning his 24th save.
Coming up with his seventh defeat of the season, Verlander was touched for all six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits and four walks. The power pitcher logged just three strikeouts in the meeting.
"Just overall, just wasn't in sync. Just gotta find it. Couldn't find it today," Verlander said.
The Tigers produced 13 hits, three coming from both Victor Martinez and Alex Avila, the latter knocking in two runs. Prince Fielder and Jhonny Peralta pitched in with two hits apiece, while Miguel Cabrera supplied a single and a walk, but also struck out twice.
Doug Fister, who began the season with three wins in as many appearances and four consecutive triumphs overall, is trying to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since April when he takes the mound this afternoon for the Tigers.
The right-hander, who came out on the losing end of his most recent game versus the Royals last month after permitting three runs on nine hits over eight innings, last pitched on July 12 versus Texas and came out on top in that outing.
The Fresno State product made it through at least the sixth inning for the fourth game in row and this time he gave up just two runs on eight hits and a couple of walks, while striking out five in the 7-2 triumph.
For his career, Fister has a record of 2-4 with a 3.88 ERA in nine games versus Kansas City.
Going up against Fister will be James Shields as he seeks his third win in as many decisions. The right-hander has had a tough time getting positive results for his efforts lately, earning just two decisions since dropping four straight in the month of May.
Most recently Shields closed out the first half of the season last weekend with an appearance against Cleveland on the road, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out four over five innings. However, for the second time in the last three games and seventh time in nine games Shields failed to factor into the decision.
Nevertheless, the good news for the Royals is that they've actually won all but one of his last nine outings.
Drafted by Tampa Bay in the 16th round back in 2000 and playing with the Rays between 2006-2012, Shields is no stranger to Detroit, sporting a 5-1 mark in 11 all-time outings.
Kansas City now owns a 5-2 edge in the season series versus a Tigers club that won 13 of their 18 matchups a year ago.