Justin Verlander fought his way out of a hole in the ninth inning to finish off a complete-game gem in Detroit’s 3-2 road win over Kansas City on Monday.
The Cy Young winner took a 3-1 advantage into the ninth inning where he allowed a run and saw Kansas City load the bases with two outs, before rearing back to blow away Alex Gordon for the final out.
Verlander struck out nine batters and labored through 131 pitches on the night to end a string of two quality starts where he failed to get a win.
“I had some demons to exorcise,” Verlander told reporters. “I wanted to go back out there [in the ninth] and shut those guys down. When it came down to it, I made the pitch I needed to make.”
Both teams scored one run in the first and Brandon Inge hit a two-run home run in the fifth to put the Central Division-leading Tigers (7-3) ahead for good.
Kansas City starter Danny Duffy hung tough through 6-2/3 innings, striking out seven, but the Royals (3-7) could not avoid losing their fifth consecutive game.
The home side did not go down easily in the ninth, where Quintero delivered a two-out RBI to get the team within a run. Mitch Maier then drew a walk and Alcides Escobar was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
The Tigers had began warming up closer Jose Valverde, but decided to stick with their ace and it paid off.
“I told him: ‘It’s your game. I’m not coming out there to take you out. You’re going to walk off the mound and you’re either going to win it or lose it,’” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
Despite a shaky start and finish, Verlander was virtually flawless between and at one point retired 11 straight batters.
Austin Jackson led off the game with a home run for Detroit, while Jhonny Peralta went three-for-four.
ORIOLES 10, WHITE SOX 4, 10 INNS
In Chicago, Matt Wieters homered twice, including a 10th-inning Grand Slam, lifting Baltimore to a come-from-behind win over Chicago.
The White Sox took a 4-1 lead into the eighth, but Baltimore hit three solo homers against a pair of relievers to send the game into extra innings.
Chicago reliever Zach Stewart (0-1) allowed six runs in the 10th, five of them unearned.
Wieters went deep off Jesse Crain in the eighth to make it 4-2. Nolan Reimold and Adam Jones homered off rookie closer Hector Santiago in the ninth to tie it.
Monday’s other results:
‧ Angels 6, Athletics 0
‧ Rays 1, Red Sox 0
‧ Twins 7, Yankees 3
Stephen Strasburg pitched six innings for his second win of the season to lead the Washington Nationals to a 6-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday.
Strasburg looked nearly unhittable for five innings, allowing just three singles, but the Astros got to him in the sixth for two runs and three hits.
Strasburg (2-0) walked one and struck out five. He has not allowed a home run in 50-1/3 innings — since Aug. 15, 2010.
Steve Lombardozzi had three singles and a two-run double in the sixth off Kyle Weiland (0-2) that gave Washington a 4-2 lead. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a two-run single.
Monday’s other results:
‧ Mets 6, Braves 1
‧ Padres 7, Rockies 1
‧ Diamondbacks 5, Pirates 1
‧ Phillies 5, Giants 2