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Verlander strong as Tigers down Royals

Sep 25, 2012 - 4:49 AM Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Prince Fielder homered and Justin Verlander tossed eight solid innings, as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Kansas City Royals, 6-2, in the opener of a four-game series.

Andy Dirks knocked in two runs for the Tigers, who remained one game behind the White Sox for first place in the AL Central. Chicago beat the Indians, 5-4, on Monday.

Verlander (16-8) gave up two runs on nine hits while striking out eight for Detroit, which snapped a two-game skid. The right-hander improved to 12-7 in 23 career starts against Kansas City.

"It's not like every game's a must-win," Verlander said, "but it's getting close to that point. It's a lot of pressure on us, but I think this team thrives under pressure. And if we start winning a few of these ballgames that switches everything and puts the pressure on the White Sox."

Alex Gordon hit a solo homer for the Royals, who have lost two straight since a four-game winning streak. Billy Butler went 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Luke Hochevar (8-15) allowed six runs -- five earned -- on 12 hits over 7 1/3 innings. He fell to 1-6 over his last 10 starts.

The Tigers scored two runs in the second inning. Fielder led off with a homer to right. Jhonny Peralta reached base on a fielder's choice and crossed the plate on Alex Avila's two-out double to right-center field.

Gordon's homer to left in the fourth cut the gap to 2-1.

But Detroit tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Avila walked and Omar Infante singled to put men on first and second with one out. Austin Jackson followed with an RBI double down the right-field line. Jeff Francoeur's throwing error allowed Infante to score on the play too.

The Tigers added another run in the sixth to make it a 5-1 contest. Miguel Cabrera led off with a single, moved to third on Delmon Young's base hit and scored on Dirks' sacrifice fly.

Each team scored one run in the eighth. In the top half, Alcides Escobar doubled and raced home on Butler's single to center.

"He's always tough like that, and he's pitching with a little more life," Butler said of Verlander. "They're fighting for the playoffs, so you know you're going to get his best."

Fielder and Young hit consecutive one-out singles in the bottom half. Nathan Adcock came in from the bullpen and gave up an RBI single to Dirks.

Jose Valverde tossed a scoreless ninth to secure the victory.

Game Notes

The Tigers lead the season series by an 8-4 margin ... Hochevar fell to 4-6 in 13 career meetings against Detroit ... Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 14 games ... Jackson went 3-for-4.

    DETROIT: 6

    Sep 24 9:42 PM

  • Andy Dirks single to left scored Prince Fielder with one out. On the play, Delmon Young advances to second. Runners on first and second and Jhonny Peralta due up.

    Royals 2, Tigers 6  Bot 8, 1 OutSep 24 9:29 PM

  • Billy Butler single to center scored Alcides Escobar with one out. Runner on first and Salvador Perez due up.

    Royals 2, Tigers 5  Top 8, 1 OutSep 24 9:16 PM
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    Royals 2, Tigers 5  Top 8, 1 OutSep 24 9:16 PM

  • Andy Dirks sacrifice fly to center scored Miguel Cabrera with two out. Runner on first and Jhonny Peralta due up.

    Royals 1, Tigers 5  Bot 6, 2 OutsSep 24 8:51 PM
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    Royals 1, Tigers 4  Mid 6Sep 24 8:43 PM
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    Royals 1, Tigers 4  Top 6, 1 OutSep 24 8:40 PM

  • Austin Jackson double to right scored Alex Avila and Omar Infante on Jeff Francoeur's throwing error with two out. On the play, Austin Jackson thrown out at third, left to third. None on and Quintin Berry due up.

    Royals 1, Tigers 4  Bot 5, 2 OutsSep 24 8:33 PM
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    Royals 1, Tigers 2  Top 5, 1 OutSep 24 8:15 PM
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    Royals 1, Tigers 2  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 24 8:13 PM

  • Alex Gordon lead-off Home Run (12) to left. Billy Butler due up.

    Royals 1, Tigers 2  Top 4, 0 OutsSep 24 8:01 PM

  • Alex Avila double to right scored Jhonny Peralta with two out. Runner on second and Omar Infante due up.

    Royals 0, Tigers 2  Bot 2, 2 OutsSep 24 7:39 PM

  • Prince Fielder lead-off Home Run (28) to right. Delmon Young due up.

    Royals 0, Tigers 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 24 7:32 PM

    DETROIT: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Sep 24 7:07 PM
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    Royals vs. TigersMay 1 6:01 AM