KANSAS CITY, Mo.(DETROIT FREE PRESS) – Rick Porcello escaped enough few jams and the Tigers showed off some power to beat the Royals for the third consecutive game.
J.D. Martinez hit a solo home run to left-center on a 2-0 pitch off right-hander Aaron Crow and Alex Avila added a two-run homer on a 3-0 pitch from Crow in the top of the ninth. The Tigers went on to beat the Royals, 5-1, on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Right-hander pitcher Justin Verlander (8-7, 4.84) will try to complete the sweep tomorrow afternoon for the Tigers against lefty Bruce Chen (1-2, 7.11).
Right-hander Rick Porcello gave up six hits, three walks and one earned run over seven innings with three strikeouts for the Tigers. He threw 96 pitches, 56 for strikes.
Joba Chamberlain came in and got one strikeout in a 1-2-3 eighth inning for his AL-leading 18th hold of the season. He hasn't allowed a run in 23 of his last 25 outings.
Right-hander Al Alburquerque pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Tigers.
Porcello got out of a couple of jams, including one with the bases loaded in the fifth.
The Royals finally put one run across in the sixth. With one out, Porcello gave up back-to-back singles to Salvador Perez and Omar Infante. With runners on the first and third, Billy Butler hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Perez, cutting the Tigers' lead to 2-1.
In the fifth, Porcello gave up a double to Butler and walk to Mike Moustakas with none out. Alcides Escobar grounded into a force at third, putting runners on the corners with one out. Jarrod Dyson then flied out to left. Porcello gave up a walk to Nori Aoki to load the bases, then got Lorenzo Cain to strike out swinging.
Porcello gave up back-to-back singles to Omar Infante and Butler with none out in the 2nd inning. With runners on first and third, Porcello got Moustakas to strike out and then Escobar grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
After giving up a one-out walk to Aoki in the third, Porcello got Cain to ground into a 6-4-3 double play in the third.
Before adding the three runs in the ninth, the Tigers produced just enough offense to give Porcello a lead to protect.
Austin Jackson hit a two-out double and came home on Ian Kinsler's line drive single to right in the third to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Jackson finished 2-for-5 and is hitting (.349) 15-for-43 with four doubles and nine runs scored since July 2.
Torii Hunter, who hit his first triple of the season, scored on a two-out single to left by Avila in the fourth to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Hunter hit a ball to straightaway center that landed just before the wall and then bounced up. It looked like Hunter was going to be out on the throw from Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson. But Hunter managed to slide in under the tag of third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Right-hander James Shields threw a season-high 121 pitches for the Royals. He gave up seven hits, no walks and two earned runs over seven innings with eight strikeouts.