Early on it looked like Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander was toying with the late Johnny Vander Meer's record of two consecutive no-hitters established back in 1938.
Verlander looked nearly just as good Friday evening in Detroit as he did the previous weekend when he tossed his second career no-hitter in Toronto. For over five innings he stymied the Royals offense before finally allowing a RBI triple to Melky Cabrera with two outs in the sixth. Alcides Escobar has previously walked to provide Kansas City with the scoring opportunity.
Detroit made it 1-0 in the first when Austin Jackson homered to center field to lead off the game facing Kansas City's Luke Hochevar. The Tigers added a second run in the second before Hochevar eventually settled in as he finished the game allowing three runs on seven hits while pitching six innings. Taking the loss he fell to 3-4 on the season, sporting a 4.87 ERA. He would also give up another home run in the fourth, a solo shot to shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Verlander was dominant in improving to 4-3, having obviously looked great in his last two starts. The 6'5" power right-hander went eight innings allowing just one run on two hits. He stuck out seven and walked three.
Catcher Matt Treanor doubled to lead off the eighth inning but the remaining Royals went down in order. It seemed to be a surprising move that Royals Manager Ned Yost was intent on allowing light-hitting Chris Getz to hit with one-out, with Wilson Betemit sitting on the bench.
Alex Gordon singled and stole second to begin the ninth, facing Tigers closer Jose Valverde, but Valverde was up to task in picking up his ninth save. Valverde struck out Billy Butler, got Jeff Francoeur to fly out, and struck out Eric Hosmer to end the game. Butler, a night after going 4-for-6, lost a 22 game hitting-streak against the Tigers as the Royals amassed just three hits.
Kansas City falls to 20-18, while the surging Tigers improved to 21-18 and overtook the Royals for second place in the Central Division race. Cleveland also beat Seattle 5-4 on Friday evening to continue setting the pace at the top.
Jeff Francis (0-4 5.09) and the Royals will look to get back on track Saturday against Brad Penny (3-3 4.78) and the Tigers. Game time in Detroit is 3:10 CST. Is it important for Kansas City to pick up a win tomorrow, as Detroit will have Mizzou alum Max Scherzer (6-0 3.20) on the mound Sunday.