Kansas City, MO – Salvador Perez stroked a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Kansas City Royals held on for a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium.
Perez's shot snapped a 2-2 tie and the Kansas City bullpen was able to piece together 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball after starter Danny Duffy failed to get through five frames.
"I'm happy with the way I battled, left everything out there," said Duffy. "(Salvador Perez) came up with a bomb, as long as we're winning I'm happy."
Greg Holland closed the door in the ninth for his 39th save, helping the Royals draw even in this three-game set after they were blown out 16-2 in Friday's series opener.
Overall, the Royals have won 10 of their last 14 games and pulled within 3 1/2 of the second wild card spot with Tampa Bay's loss to Seattle on Saturday night.
Extending a career-worst stretch, Justin Verlander (12-11) now hasn't picked up a victory in six consecutive starts. He was tagged for all four runs on eight hits, striking out seven in the setback.
Miguel Cabrera knocked in two runs to push his major league-best RBI total to 133, but the Tigers suffered their fourth defeat in six games. Prince Fielder also had an RBI in the setback.
"We had some guys on, Duffy was a little wild and that's what we were kind of hoping for," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "We had some opportunities but we really couldn't take advantage of it."
Detroit took a 2-1 lead after loading the bases with one out in the fifth, but didn't take full advantage. The situation arose after Duffy walked two straight batters, which concluded his outing. Wade Davis (7-10) came in and forced in a run with a two-out walk to Cabrera, but induced Fielder into a pop up to end the frame.
The Royals tied the score in the home half, however. Jarrod Dyson walked, swiped second and crossed the plate on an RBI single from Alcides Escobar.
An inning later, with two out and Eric Hosmer on second base, Perez clubbed a two-run homer past the left center field wall to stake the Royals to a 4-2 lead.
Cabrera pulled the Tigers within one by recording the third single of the seventh for Detroit. His line drive landed in left and Brayan Pena scored, but the Tigers failed to get another hit the rest of the game.
Fielder opened a lead for the Tigers in their first turn at the plate, dropping a one-out base hit into right to score Austin Jackson from second.
Verlander gave up a double to David Lough to begin the third, but looked like he might side step trouble when Lough was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning. However, he wasn't so fortunate.
Escobar had reached first when the Tigers went home to get Lough on his ground ball, moved to third on an Alex Gordon single, then sprinted home when Emilio Bonifacio dropped a perfect bunt single down the third base line.
Verlander is 0-3 against Kansas City this season. He has recorded at least one win against them in each of the past seven years ... Duffy walked five over 4 1/3 innings, charged with two runs on two hits ... Tigers outfield prospect Nick Castellanos made his first major league start, ending 1-for-2 with a run scored ... The Tigers were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.