Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas push surging Kansas City Royals by Detroit Tigers

By Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez hits a home run. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez hits a home run. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

DETROIT -- The way things are going for the Kansas City Royals right now, it's a matter of when, not if they're going to deliver a key late-inning hit. In their latest dramatic finish, they got two big hits.

Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas smacked back-to-back homers to lead off the 12th inning, and the Kansas City Royals extended their winning streak to six games with a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday at Comerica Park.


"You knew if we could just keep getting good relief pitching to give us an opportunity, that we'd find a way," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "The bullpen was just absolutely outstanding."

Royals relievers posted 6 1/3 scoreless innings, extending their streak to 24 2/3 spotless innings over the past five games.


Kansas City had four walkoff victories in its latest homestand. That's not possible on the road but their two biggest power sources provided the extra-inning thunder.

Perez's 20th homer and Moustakas' 29th homer came off Drew VerHagen (0-1), who was just recalled from Triple-A Toledo. Jorge Bonifacio homered for the third consecutive game and had three hits for Kansas City (51-47).

The Royals remained 1 1/2 games behind the American League Central-leading Cleveland Indians, who defeated the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.

Jakob Junis (3-2) picked up the victory with one inning of scoreless relief. Kelvin Herrera threw a perfect inning to notch his 20th save.

Royals starter Jason Hammel was charged with three runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings.

"I want to stay in the game in that situation but I don't disagree with any of the moves made," Hammel said. "These (bullpen) guys, they kept it right there. It was seven innings worth of keeping it right there and that's special. That's hard to come by. The guys did a really good job of putting up zeroes and we got the timely hit. That's what good teams do."


Justin Verlander got a no-decision in what may have been his last start as a Tiger. Verlander, who has been the subject of trade rumors, allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings and struck out nine. He left to a thunderous ovation.

"It's kind of in the background of my mind that you never know what could happen," Verlander said. "It's back there, and there is a moment walking off the mound where you take a second to appreciate it. I know I didn't acknowledge it when I was walking off the mound, probably because we're in the middle of a tie game. Maybe I wish I could have gone back and said thank you. But who know, maybe there's a lot more of those to come."

Verlander also got a no-decision in Kansas City last week when he held the Royals to two runs in seven innings.

"The last two outings I feel like I've done a better job of attacking the zone and forcing the issue a little bit," he said.

Tigers catcher Alex Avila snapped an 0-for-14 slump with a game-tying, two-run single in the sixth.


Verlander recorded six strikeouts the first time through the order, but the Royals broke through with two runs in the fourth. Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain hit back-to-back singles and moved up on a grounder. A wild pitch allowed Bonifacio to score, and Moustakas' sacrifice fly made it 2-0.

Bonifacio smacked his 14th homer over the left field wall to lead off the sixth.

The Tigers (45-53) tied it in the sixth.

Miguel Cabrera knocked in the first run with an RBI single. With the bases loaded and two out, Avila smacked a single over the outstretched glove of shortstop Alcides Escobar to knot the score at 3-3.

NOTES: Kansas City acquired three pitchers in a six-player trade with San Diego. RHP Trevor Cahill will move into the rotation, while RHP Brandon Maurer and LHP Ryan Buchter will fortify the bullpen. LHPs Matt Strahm and Travis Wood and minor league 2B Esteury Ruiz were shipped to San Diego. Additionally, RHPs Al Alburquerque and Luke Farrell were designated for assignment, and LHP Brian Flynn was recalled from Triple-A Omaha. ... Detroit RF Jim Adduci was optioned to Triple-A Toledo to make room for RHP Drew VerHagen, who took the loss on Monday after his recall from the Mud Hens. VerHagen started 19 games with Toledo this season, posting a 7-7 record and 4.90 ERA. ... Tigers LHP Daniel Norris had his rehab start with Triple-A Toledo cut short after two-thirds of an inning Sunday. Norris continues to experience weakness with his right quad and left groin.


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