DETROIT (AP) — Victor Martinez drove in two runs with a tiebreaking infield single in the seventh inning, and the Detroit Tigers took advantage of that fluky hit, holding on for a 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Martinez’s comebacker deflected off reliever Joakim Soria and rolled to the area between first and second. With the second baseman playing deep, there was no chance to retire Martinez, and two runs came home on the play.
Detroit’s Tyler Collins hit a solo homer earlier in the inning off Luke Hochevar (1-2) to tie the game at 2. Ian Kinsler also homered for the Tigers.
Justin Verlander (9-6) allowed one earned run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out 10 and walked two.
Justin Wilson pitched the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez finished for his 25th save in 27 chances.
Collins was called up from the minors before the game to replace Justin Upton, who was put on the bereavement list. Collins was 2 for 22 with Detroit this season before his seventh-inning solo shot tied the game. After consecutive singles by Jose Iglesias and Kinsler, Soria came on and walked Cameron Maybin to load the bases.
After falling behind 3-0 on Miguel Cabrera, Soria recovered to strike out the Detroit slugger, but Martinez followed with his grounder that turned into a two-run single.
Verlander struck out the side in the first, and Kinsler led off the bottom half with a homer, but Detroit couldn’t add to that lead. With men on first and second in the sixth, Kansas City’s Salvador Perez lifted a deep drive to right that Steven Moya couldn’t handle. Perez ended up with an RBI double, and another run came home on the play thanks to a throwing error by Kinsler.
Kansas City starter Ian Kennedy allowed a run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Royals: Manager Ned Yost said OF Lorenzo Cain (left hamstring) is probably at about 85 percent. Cain is eligible to come off the DL whenever the Royals feel he’s ready.
Tigers: Manager Brad Ausmus said LHP Daniel Norris (right oblique) was probably a couple of days away from a bullpen session. … RHP Jordan Zimmermann (neck) said he would probably do long-toss Saturday.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (4-1) starts Saturday night against the Tigers. He has struck out at least seven hitters in four straight starts. The last Kansas City pitcher to do it in five straight starts was Zack Greinke, when he won the Cy Young Award in 2009.
Tigers: RHP Mike Pelfrey (2-8) tries for his third straight quality start.