Detroit Marcus Thames turned a logical decision into a costly one.
Thames hit a two-out, three-run homer after Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked, leading Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers to an 8-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
“It was definitely the right move — it just didn’t work out,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Cabrera hit a 424-foot shot to left in the first, leading to manager Trey Hillman’s call to play the percentages to help Bruce Chen’s chances to get out of the fifth.
“Cabrera had already hit one, so we walked him to get to Marcus because Chen had had better success with him,” Hillman said. “But he left another pitch up.”
Verlander (9-4) also left some pitches up, but his blazing fastballs had the Royals swinging and missing often.
He struck out 11 to run his baseball-best total to 141, the most by a Detroit pitcher before the All-Star game in 37 years. He gave up five runs — three earned — and seven hits over six innings.
“I don’t try to strike everybody out,” Verlander insisted.
Verlander, though, got into some trouble against the Royals by giving up leadoff singles in the first two innings and allowing David DeJesus’ three-run double in the second that gave Kansas City a 3-1 lead.
Billy Butler hit a solo drive in the sixth for Kansas City. Chen (0-3) allowed seven runs — all but one on three homers — in 42⁄3 innings.