Detroit, MI – Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter drove in three runs apiece to help the Detroit Tigers move one game closer to an AL Central title with a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Austin Jackson doubled twice and scored a pair for Detroit, which has won three straight. Fielder had two hits and went over the 100-RBI mark for the sixth time in his career.
Justin Verlander (13-11) snapped a personal three-game losing streak after throwing 79 of 111 pitches for strikes in 6 2/3 innings. The Cy Young winner allowed three runs on nine hits and struck out seven. Joaquin Benoit recorded a four-out save, his 19th of the season.
"He had good stuff tonight," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Verlander. "That's what I've been saying all along. He's a stuff guy and I think he showed that tonight."
Bruce Chen (7-3) took the loss after getting tagged for six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. The Royals sit 3 1/2 games out of the last AL wild card spot.
"It only hurts if you let it hurt us," Chen said of the loss. "We're going to try to do everything we can to come back tomorrow and try to get a win."
Chen threw just seven pitches in the first inning, but gave up a quick run when Jackson doubled down the left field line on the first pitch he saw and took third when Alex Gordon struggled getting the ball back to the infield. Hunter and Miguel Cabrera also swung first pitch, both grounding out to the left side of the infield with the former plating Jackson. Fielder struck out on four pitches.
Salvador Perez knocked in a run in the top of the fourth to tie the score before Detroit broke the game open in the bottom half. Cabrera was credited with a double on a fly ball that glanced off of David Lough's glove in right. Fielder followed with a towering home run, his 24th of the campaign.
The Tigers put three more across an inning later. Alex Avila led off with a walk and Jackson smacked a ground-rule double to left, putting two runners on for Hunter, who took advantage with a two-run single to right. Cabrera was then walked intentionally and Chen balked the two runners into scoring position for Fielder, who looped a single into right-center. Francisley Bueno relieved Chen and retired the side.
KC got a pair back in the home half of the fifth to cut its deficit to 6-3. With two outs and a man on third, Billy Butler singled to left before Perez laced a double to the wall in right-center.
Drew Smyly and Jose Veras walked the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, but Benoit came in with two outs and struck out Lough to end the threat.
Earlier today, the Tigers sent RHP David Paulino to the Houston Astros as the player to be named later to complete the deal in which Detroit acquired RHP Jose Veras on July 19 ... Verlander earned his first win against the Royals this season in five tries ... Kansas City hit just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.