DETROIT (AP) — J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera homered and Justin Verlander pitched seven strong innings as the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Verlander (5-4) was down 3-0 before getting an out, but didn’t allow another run as the Tigers won their second straight after an eight-game losing streak. He gave up three runs, nine hits and a walk, striking out six.
Three relievers finished for the Tigers, with Justin Wilson pitching the ninth for his seventh save.
Matt Strahm (2-5) gave up five runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings for the Royals.
The Royals got off to a quick start against Verlander. Whit Merrifield started the game with a ground-rule double over the 420-foot sign in center and the next four batters singled to give Kansas City a three-run lead with no outs in the first.
Verlander, though, retired the next three batters to escape the inning without further damage. After the five hits to start the game, he got 21 outs while only allowing four singles.
Martinez led off the bottom of the second with his 12th homer, and Cabrera put the Tigers ahead 4-3 with a three-run, opposite-field homer in the third.
Peter Moylan replaced Strahm with runners on the corners and two outs in the fourth, but Ian Kinsler lined an RBI single up the middle to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead.
Tigers centerfielder Mikie Mahtook received a standing ovation and a hug from Verlander when he ran down Salvador Perez’s hit to the deepest part of the park, making a leaping catch against the wall in right-centerfield to end the fifth inning.
Royals: RHP Danny Duffy (oblique strain) is expected to throw his second rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Thursday. Duffy, who has been out since May 28, will be aiming for four innings and 60 pitches.
Tigers: DH Victor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) took batting practice before Tuesday’s game and is expected to be activated from the DL on Wednesday. Martinez spent two nights in a local hospital after leaving Detroit’s June 15 game with cold sweats, dizziness and a racing heartbeat. He underwent monitoring last week while the Tigers were on the road.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (1-6, 4.95 ERA) will start the second game of the series on Wednesday. Kennedy has only beaten the Tigers once in seven career starts, and allowed five runs in three innings in a home loss to Detroit on May 31.
Tigers: RHP Daniel Norris (4-5, 4.66 ERA) pitches for Detroit on Wednesday, looking for his first career win against the Royals in his sixth start. He received a no-decision in Kansas City on May 29, giving up three runs in five innings.