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The Grand Slam: Justin Verlander hit hard again as Royals top Tigers

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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The Kansas City Royals are hoping to overtake the Detroit Tigers for first place in the AL Central standings this week. But in their four-game series again the Tigers, the Royals have to face Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez.

Kansas City got off to a good start Monday, torching Verlander and the Tigers, winning the game 11-8 even though that final score is a bit misleading, and creeping to within a half-game of the division lead.

Before the Tigers scored six in the ninth, this was a rout, plain and simple. And Verlander, the former Cy Young winner, was once again not at his best.

He allowed 12 hits and seven runs in six innings, and even got booed by the Detroit fans. That's what happens when you're a pitcher getting paid $180 million over seven years and your ERA is 4.61. In his last six starts, dating back to May 20, Verlander has a 7.88 ERA. Ouch.

''I don't blame the fans for booing,'' Verlander said. ''They are frustrated with me, just like I'm frustrated with myself. I would have probably booed myself tonight. They've cheered me a lot of times, and they will cheer me again.''

Former Tiger Omar Infante led the Royals with a three-run homer off Verlander. He was one of seven Royals who had multiple hits. The Royals now look to carry over that production into Tuesday, when they face Scherzer, who is 8-2 with a 3.05 ERA and looks more like an ace these days than Verlander does.

DE LA ROSA LEADS RED SOX TO 1-0 WIN: If Rubby De La Rosa keeps this up, he's liable to turn into a Fenway Park folk hero. De La Rosa pitched seven innings of one-hit ball, leading the Red Sox to a 1-0 win against the Minnesota Twins.

De La Rosa was making his fourth start of the season for the Red Sox, he was called upon to help the injured Boston rotation late last month. In his Fenway debut, he pitched seven scoreless innings as well. In two starts on the road, however, he's allowed eight earned runs and is 0-2. You know what to do, Red Sox. Don't let him leave Boston.

TRAVIS WOOD, PINCH-HIT HERO: With their game against the Miami Marlins in the 13th inning, the Chicago Cubs were running out of pinch hitters. So they called on pitcher Travis Wood, one of the better hitting pitchers in the league.

And Wood came through with a go-ahead double that gave the Cubs a 5-4 win. How about that? A pinch-hit game-winner by the pitcher. Something like this happened not too long ago, actually, but it was just a bit more dramatic. Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo hit a pinch-hit double that gave his team the win in walk-off fashion on May 27. 

THE PHILLIES SCORE FIVE IN THE 13TH TO BEAT BRAVES: With the score tied 1-1 in the 13th inning of the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves, someone was due for some offense. The Phillies got some, plenty in fact.

The Phillies went ahead 2-1 on a Ryan Howard grounder that first baseman Freddie Freeman couldn't handle, and then proceeded to add four more runs in the 13th on a Marlon Byrd RBI single, a Carlos Ruiz sac fly and then a Reid Brignac two-run triple.

Final score: Phillies 5, Braves 1.

For the rest of Monday's results, check out our scoreboard.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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