DETROIT (AP) – Jose Valverde returned to Detroit with a save and Victor Martinez drove in a pair of runs to help the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 7-5 Wednesday night.
Max Scherzer (2-0) got the win, allowing five runs in five innings, with three Tigers relievers finishing the game. Valverde, called up earlier in the day, returned to the Tigers with a perfect ninth inning. Valverde lost the closing role during the postseason and wasn’t offered a contract, but signed a minor-league deal earlier this month and returned to Detroit after a short minor-league stint.
Wade Davis (2-1) gave up seven runs – but only three earned – in 3 2-3 innings. Davis allowed eight hits and four walks while only getting 11 outs.
The Tigers took the lead on Omar Infante’s RBI single in the second, but Kansas City responded with four runs in the third. Salvador Perez and Chris Getz started the inning with singles, and Alex Gordon tied the game with a double. Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler made it 3-1 with RBI singles, giving the Royals five straight hits, and Eric Hosmer drove in the fourth run with a long sacrifice fly.
The Tigers added two more in their half of the third on Martinez’s RBI double and Jhonny Peralta’s run-scoring single. Martinez tried to score from second on Peralta’s double, and was beaten so badly by Jeff Francoeur’s throw from right that he just veered off toward the dugout and was called out for leaving the basepath.
Detroit took control in the fourth when Infante scored on a Mike Moustakas error and Miguel Cabrera followed with a tie-breaking sacrifice fly. Martinez added an RBI single, chasing Davis, but Luis Mendoza walked the next two batters to force in a seventh run.
The Royals loaded the bases with no one out in the fifth, but only scored once, and couldn’t get anything after putting two runners on in the seventh.
NOTES: The game started on time, despite rain and snow showers throughout the day. Neither team took batting practice, but the sky cleared as the evening went on. The last few innings were played under a full moon with the temperature dropping through the 30s. … The Tigers officially purchased the contract of reliever Valverde before the game, and designated Duane Below for assignment. … The Royals came into Wednesday having only played on two of the previous six days, thanks to the police situation Friday in Boston and Tuesday’s rainout in Detroit.