Verlander, Tigers top Royals for 5th straight win

Tigers 6, Royals 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Justin Verlander always seems to get it together to face the Kansas City Royals.

Verlander bounced back from his worst outing of the season to pitch seven-plus innings and the Detroit Tigers beat the Royals 6-3 for their fifth straight victory.

Consistently in the 90s and sometimes reaching 100 mph with his fastball, the hard-throwing Verlander (2-1) gave up seven hits and two runs. He struck out three and walked one. He only lasted three innings in his previous start, giving up five runs in a loss to Minnesota.

In six career starts against the Royals, Verlander is 5-0 with a 1.58 ERA. In Kauffman Stadium, he's 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA.

"They just happen to have caught me on some good days," Verlander said. "I've had some good stuff going against them several times."

Carlos Guillen, who had missed two starts with a sore shoulder, was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and scored a run. Todd Jones worked the ninth for his league-leading 11th save in 13 chances.

Verlander went into the eighth with a shutout but put two runners on with a single and a walk. Bobby Seay came in and gave up a one-out, two-run double to Mike Sweeney. Billy Butler, who had three hits, hit an RBI single off Jason Grilli before Fernando Rodney got Alex Gordon to ground out to end the threat.

"It's just one of those things," Verlander said of his success against Kansas City. "Sometimes certain pitchers match up against certain teams, but I don't think that's the case here. They're a solid-swinging ballclub. I think it's just that I've made some good pitches."

Brian Bannister (0-2) lasted 4 2/3 innings and was charged with four runs -- two earned -- and eight hits with two walks. He struck out two.

"With Verlander pitching, it doesn't change my pitch. But I just know I have to keep us close when the guy is throwing 100 mph and he's feeling good that day," Bannister said. "I knew it was going to be a tight ballgame. That's why I was battling as hard as I could."

Guillen hit a two-run double off Bannister in the first inning and singled and scored in the four-run fifth as the Tigers beat Kansas City for the fifth time in seven games this year.

Verlander was also in trouble when the Royals loaded the bases with one out in the fifth on two singles and a hit batsman. But the 2006 AL rookie of the year got David DeJesus to slap a hard grounder to Guillen at shortstop, and the Tigers turned the inning-ending double play.

"He had real good stuff," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said of Verlander. "He got out of sync a few times trying to overthrow, but for the most part, he pitched outstanding. Every once in a while he tries to do too much. He lost a little there in the eighth inning but he was great all night.

"When you throw like he did tonight, you're going to beat a lot of teams," Leyland said.

Sean Casey hit an RBI double and Brandon Inge had a run-scoring single in the fifth for the Tigers.

"His best at-bat of the year in my opinion, when he got the single to right field and knocked the run in," Leyland said. "He didn't try to do too much. That's when you win games, when you get that kind of stuff."

Game notes
The Royals expect outfielder Reggie Sanders, who went on the 15-day DL with a torn hamstring, to be out quite a bit longer. ... Right-hander Jeremy Bonderman's scheduled start on Sunday has been moved back to Tuesday because he has a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Right-hander Chad Durbin, a former Royal, will start Sunday against Kansas City. ... Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek was back after missing four games with a sore lower back. ... The Royals lead the majors with 25 hit batsmen.