- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - The Kansas City Royals finally got a positive look at the pitcher they acquired to help them in the postseason.

They also got an unpleasant performance from two of the arms that helped them reach Game 7 of the World Series last fall.

Johnny Cueto pitched seven innings, only allowing two runs, but Wade Davis gave up his first run in over a month and Greg Holland blew a 12th-inning lead as the Royals lost 5-4 to the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

Cueto allowed eight hits and a walk in seven-plus innings. He gave up a first-inning run for the fourth straight start, but settled down for his best outing since allowing one run in eight innings against the Angels on Aug. 15.

“I take a lot of pride in what I did tonight, because I threw the ball really well,” Cueto said through an interpreter. “I got myself into a rhythm and finally felt the way I’m supposed to feel out there.”

The Tigers took a 3-1 lead in the eighth when Davis allowed two sacrifice flies, one charged to Cueto and one to him, but the Royals sent the game to extra innings on Salvador Perez’s two-run homer with two out in the ninth.

The Royals took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 12th after Salvador Perez singled and pinch-runner Terrance Gore stole second, took third on Jarrod Dyson’s bunt and scored on Paulo Orlando’s groundout.

“Dyson and Gore are a great pair of weapons,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “VerHagen’s delivery to the plate was 1.29 seconds, and (James) McCann’s throw was outstanding and in a perfect spot, and Gore still stole the bag and got us into scoring position.”

However, Anthony Gose led off the bottom of the 12th with a single off Holland (3-2), and after Ian Kinsler popped out, Miguel Cabrera singled and took second when no one covered the bag as Gose went to third. Holland intentionally walked J.D. Martinez to face Victor Martinez with the bases loaded.

Holland got the strikeout he needed, but walked Tyler Collins to force in the tying run. Dixon Machado then lined a 2-2 slider down the left-field line for the winning run.

“I knew I couldn’t take a deep breath when I got Victor, because if you relax in a situation like that, you are going to implode,” Holland said. “I just couldn’t consistently get the ball where I needed it in the zone, so I walk Collins and then hang a two-strike slider to Machado.”

Holland hasn’t been routinely bad over the last month, saving seven of his last nine games, but three bad outings have left him with a 6.30 ERA in his last 12 games.

“My confidence is fine,” he said. “If I were getting beating up every night, that would be a problem, but this has just been a couple bad nights over the last month.”

Justin Verlander allowed one run and four hits with a walk, and has posted a 2.02 ERA in his last 11 starts. In that stretch, he has walked 14 batters and struck out 69 in 80 1/3 innings.

Ausmus pulled him to tremendous boos with a 3-1 lead and two out in the ninth after Eric Hosmer’s single. Perez crushed Alex Wilson’s second pitch for a game-tying homer.

“I’m a big believer in positive energy, and I don’t think that was a good situation to boo,” Verlander said. “We had a lot of good things going; here comes our reliever in to a bunch of boos. Obviously, they weren’t for him, but I’m a believer in positive vibes.”

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Cabrera’s double, but he was easily thrown out at the plate by Orlando on Victor Martinez’s two-out single.

Orlando tied the game with a two-out double in the fifth, but Kinsler prevented a second run by making a sliding stop of Alcides Escobar’s grounder, then threw Escobar out from his knees.


Royals: 2B Omar Infante left the game in the fifth inning with a left oblique strain and was replaced by Zobrist. Infante, who had 7 RBIs in Thursday night’s win over Cleveland, will be evaluated tomorrow. . Alcides Escobar left the game after being hit with a pitch in the 10th inning, but is expected to play Saturday.

Tigers: 3B Nick Castellanos was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game with a groin strain, but pinch-hit in the 11th inning. . SS Jose Igleisas was undergoing tests on his broken finger to see if he will be cleared to play before the end of the season.


The teams continue their three-game weekend series on Saturday night, with Edinson Volquez (13-8, 3.59) facing Detroit’s Matt Boyd (1-5, 8.02). Boyd has an 8.50 ERA in his last four starts, once against Kansas City, having allowed 17 runs on 22 hits in 18 innings.

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