Scherzer, Tigers again try to slow down streaking Royals

( - Justin Verlander failed in his attempt to cool off the Kansas City Royals, so it will be Max Scherzer's turn when the Detroit Tigers resume a four-game series Tuesday at Comerica Park.

The Royals managed to hold on for an 11-8 win Monday night in the series opener and battered Verlander for seven runs and 12 hits in six innings. Omar Infante hit a three-run homer and finished with four RBI, while Billy Butler drove in three runs and both Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain had three hits.

"The minute that you think a guy's struggling, you're going to get spanked," KC manager Ned Yost said of Verlander. "So we don't ever think like that."

Jason Vargas threw seven innings of two-run ball for the win and helped the Royals to their eighth victory in a row. Kansas City has won 11 of its last 13 games and pulled within a half-game of Detroit for the AL Central lead.

The Comerica Park crowd wasn't pleased with Verlander, as he dropped his third straight start and fifth in six tries.

"I don't blame the fans for booing," Verlander said. "They are frustrated with me, just like I'm frustrated with myself. I would have probably booed myself tonight. They've cheered me a lot of times, and they will cheer me again."

Detroit rallied for six runs in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn't enough to stop the surging Royals. The Tigers had won two straight and three of four games, and received a two-out grand slam from J.D. Martinez in the ninth.

Martinez entered the game in the bottom of the fourth when Torii Hunter suffered a right hamstring cramp while running out a single.

Rajai Davis had three hits and two RBI for the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera had a nine-game hit streak end after going 0-for-2.

The Tigers will turn to Scherzer Tuesday and he is 8-2 with a 3.05 earned run average. Scherzer has won back-to-back starts and tossed a three-hit shutout in Thursday's 4-0 win at Chicago, striking out eight with three walks.

Scherzer had allowed 20 runs in his previous four starts. The right-hander is 5-0 in six home starts this season and 9-4 with a 3.19 ERA in 18 career starts against Kansas City.

The Royals will send Yordano Ventura to the mound Tuesday and he is aiming for his third straight win. He threw seven innings of one-run ball in Wednesday's 4-1 win over Cleveland to improve to 4-5 with a 3.20 ERA.

Ventura, a right-hander, has never faced the Tigers.

The Tigers had won the first five meetings with Kansas City until Monday's loss and this four-game set was made possible due to a rainout on April 3.