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Salvador Perez leads Kansas City Royals past Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

By Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
Salvador Perez leads Kansas City Royals past Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

DETROIT -- Salvador Perez cannot explain why he hits Justin Verlander so well. The Kansas City Royals catcher is just happy the Detroit Tigers right-hander made some more mistakes against him.

Perez had three hits off Verlander, including a two-run homer, and three RBIs, leading the Royals to a 5-1 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

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Entering in a 2-for-21 slump on the team's 10-game road trip, Perez knocked in the first three runs of the game. He is now batting .474 in 38 career at-bats against Verlander.

"I just saw another pitcher on the mound," Perez said. "For some good reason, I hit him pretty good. I just try to do my job. The first two hits were both fastballs up in the zone."

Perez also seems comfortable hitting at Comerica Park, where he owns a .281 average in 31 career games. His production from the No. 7 spot fueled a lineup that got just one hit from its first three batters.

"It's really big," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said of Perez's Detroit comfort zone. "I think someone was saying in the dugout that he really seems to hit well at this park. Every time we come here, it seems like he's having a big game or a couple of big games. It just proves how deep our lineup is."

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Hosmer had two hits and scored twice. Left fielder Ben Zobrist and right fielder Alex Rios drove in the other runs for the Royals (63-42).

Danny Duffy (5-5) notched the victory, going seven innings and allowing one run on five hits. He matched his second-longest outing of the season.

"The big thing is when he can control his off-speed stuff and throw that for strikes," Hosmer said. "Everyone knows how effective his fastball is, and it just makes the fastball that much more effective. He was very efficient with quick innings. It seemed like we weren't on the field for defense too long. He worked out of a couple of jams and really did a good job picking us up."

Verlander (1-4) also lasted seven innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits while striking out five. He held the Tampa Bay Rays to one run in eight innings in his previous start for his first win of the season.

"He wasn't as sharp as his last outing, but it still was decent," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Really, to me, he only made two mistakes -- the double to (second baseman Omar) Infante, a fastball up, and a fastball up to Perez on the home run. Other than that, he really did a pretty good job."

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Third baseman Nick Castellanos had three hits for the Tigers (51-55) in the opener of a three-game series.

Earlier in the day, the Tigers made a surprise move by replacing longtime president and general manager Dave Dombrowski with his assistant, Al Avila. Dombrowski had been with the club for 14 seasons, and he made three major deals last week before the trade deadline.

Ausmus said Dombrowski's exit didn't impact his club's performance Tuesday.

"Losing players has a lot more impact on the clubhouse because those are the guys they eat lunch with, that they hang out with on off days and go to the movies with," he said. "That has a little bit more impact on players than a front-office move."

Perez knocked in the game's first run in the second inning with a one-out single. He gave Kansas City a 3-0 lead in the fourth with his team-high 16th home run, a two-run shot over the left field wall.

Zobrist's sacrifice fly, which knocked in Infante, made it 4-0 in the fifth. Both teams scored a run in the sixth.

NOTES: Al Avila found out Saturday afternoon during a phone call from Tigers owner Mike Ilitch that he would be replacing Dave Dombrowski as the team's GM. "I think I am uniquely qualified and I'm prepared to do this," said Avila, who has served under Dombrowski for 14 years. "I've been waiting a long time. I just turned 57 years old on Sunday, and I'm very excited." ... The Tigers named Matt Boyd, one of three left-handed pitchers they acquired from Toronto for ace David Price last week, as their starter for Wednesday's game. Boyd had an 0-2 record and 14.85 ERA in two starts with the Blue Jays but was 9-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 19 minor league starts. ... New Royals RHP Johnny Cueto, acquired from Cincinnati last week, will make his second start for Kansas City on Wednesday. He got a no-decision in his first outing against Toronto. ... The Royals began a stretch of nine consecutive games against division opponents.

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