ED ZURGA / AP Enlarge
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Miguel Cabrera provided the power and Justin Verlander the pitching. Still, the Detroit Tigers needed a lucky break to survive a ninth-inning scare from the Kansas City Royals.
Cabrera hit two homers and Verlander pitched 62/3 scoreless innings as the Tigers held on for a 4-3 victory last night.
The game ended when David DeJesus, who was on third, was thrown out trying to score on a pitch Fernando Rodney threw to the backstop. Ross Gload, who had four hits to match his career high, was batting for the Royals. The ball took a true bounce back to catcher Brandon Inge, who made a perfect throw to Rodney covering home.
"It hit between two signs, but there is a seam, where they have the pads that run down vertically, it hit right in the middle of that," Inge said. "You're talking about an inch or two and it could have hit the seam and kicked to the right or the left. It didn't come back too far anyway. I was in the gravel. That was very fortunate. That's what that was."
Rodney logged his sixth save in 10 opportunities, but not before giving up two runs on RBI hits by Esteban German and Billy Butler.
"You don't see many games end like that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That's not how you figure the game is going to end when you bring in your closer with a three-run lead in the ninth. All is well that turned out well."
Said Verlander, "I've never seen that happen like that. I'm glad it did happen that way, just like we wrote it up."
The Royals have lost six straight, nine of 10 and 13 of 15. They have been outscored 105-42 in the 15 games.
"We checked on the tape and saw I didn't get a big enough lead," DeJesus said. "That would have given me a better opportunity. When I saw Rodney with the ball, I tried to avoid him."
Cabrera, who has 11 home runs and 42 RBIs in 34 games since the All-Star break, led off the second with a homer off Brian Bannister. He hit a solo shot with two outs in the sixth, also off Bannister. It was Cabrera's third two-homer game this season and the 12th of his career.
Verlander (10-13) gave up eight hits, all singles, struck out six and walked three. He has not allowed an earned run in his past two starts, covering 13 2-3 innings, to lower his ERA to 4.42.
Nate Robertson, who gave up five home runs in a start Wednesday at Texas, has been placed in the Tigers bullpen.
Robertson has won only once in his past 11 starts, is 7-10 with a 6.09 ERA and opponents are hitting .318 off him in 26 starts. He has permitted 25 home runs, tied for the most in the AL.
"He was going out there without his slider," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That's his big weapon and he doesn't have it. So, he is in the bullpen."
Robertson has made only two relief appearances in 162 games with the Tigers. He has made 120 starts since his previous bullpen appearance in 2004.39.10296 -94.58306