Tigers pound Royals, sweep three-game series

Justin Verlander took no-hitter into 6th inning


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Detroit Tigers (17-9) completed a three-game sweep of the division rival Kansas City Royals (14-16) with a 9-4 win on Sunday afternoon.

Justin Verlander picked up his fourth win of the season by giving up three earned runs in seven strong innings. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a single by Billy Butler.

Third baseman Nick Castellanos got Detroit on the board for the second consecutive game, driving a Jason Vargas offering deep over the left-center field fence for his fourth home run of the season in the second inning. The rookie is third on the Tigers with 18 RBI and tied for the team lead in home runs on the young season.

The Tigers ambushed Vargas in the next three innings and the veteran was pulled after five innings having surrendered 11 hits and seven runs. The final two runs charged to the Kansas City starter came from Alex Avila's second home run of the series, a two-run shot that scored Austin Jackson.

Detroit featured the two-headed monster of power and speed Sunday, as Rajai Davis stole his 10th and 11th bases and Jackson stole his third. The Tigers have stolen 24 bases already this season after being out-stolen 128-35 by opponents in 2013.

Davis added three hits to raise his average to a team-leading .337. Torii Hunter also added three hits, extending his hitting streak to 11 games and punishing Royals manager Ned Yost for intentionally walking Victor Martinez twice for the second straight game. Hunter's three RBI tied him for the team lead with Miguel Cabrera (19).

Though the young Royals were thought to be the top competition for the Tigers in the AL Central crown in 2014, this three-game sweep was noticeably one-sided. Detroit outscored Kansas City 26-8 in the series, and outhit the Royals 42-16.

Check: MLB Standings

Detroit has won all five games against Kansas City this season, and extended its division lead to 4.5 games over the Minnesota Twins and five games over the Royals and Chicago White Sox.

The Tigers will return to Comerica Park on Monday night to begin a four-game series with the Houston Astros. Max Scherzer will get the start against Houston's Jarred Cosart at 7:08.