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Preview: Tigers at Royals

GAME: Detroit Tigers (60-70) at Kansas City Royals (80-50)
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, September 01 – 8:10 PM EST
WHERE: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
LINE: 138, -150 TOTAL: 7

Justin Verlander looks to put together back-to-back masterful outings when his stumbling Detroit Tigers visit the American League Central-leading Kansas City Royals on Tuesday to begin a three-game series. The 2011 AL MVP lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning Wednesday before notching his second victory of 2015 – the Tigers’ only triumph in their last 10 games.

Detroit, which is a respectable 6-7 versus the Royals this season, has played itself out of playoff contention with the latest slump and managed only six runs in the last four contests. Kansas City continues to cruise to the AL Central crown with a 13-game lead over second-place Minnesota after winning 12 of its last 16, and begins a nine-game homestand. Johnny Cueto tries to shake off two straight rough outings when he opposes Verlander on Tuesday. Lorenzo Cain has hit safely in eight straight games (12-for-31, four RBIs, five runs scored) and Mike Moustakas boasts 14 RBIs in the last eight games for the Royals.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (2-6, 3.45 ERA) vs. Royals RH Johnny Cueto (9-9, 2.94)

Verlander has been brilliant in his last four starts, allowing four runs (one earned) and 12 hits over 29 innings with 31 strikeouts despite going 1-2. The 32-year-old, who yielded five runs in seven innings versus the Royals in a loss on Aug. 4, is 1-1 with a 2.17 ERA in five road starts. Salvador Perez is 18-for-38 with a pair of homers and 13 RBIs against Verlander, who is 19-8 with a 3.26 ERA in 36 career starts versus the Royals.

Cueto was tagged with the loss in his last two turns after recording quality starts in his first four appearances with the Royals, including a pair against the Tigers. The 29-year-old gave up two runs in 16 innings over two starts versus Detroit in early August, but has permitted 13 runs (12 earned) over 11 frames the last two outings. Miguel Cabrera is 1-for-3 with a homer versus Cueto, who has 152 strikeouts is 171 2/3 innings this season.

WALK-OFFS

1. Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler has registered a major league-high 50 multi-hit games and owns nine RBIs versus the Royals in 2015.

2. Kansas City 1B-DH Kendrys Morales is 15-for-50 with a team-high nine RBIs in 13 games against the Tigers this season.

3. Cabrera is 1-for-14 in the last four games after producing 23 hits in his first 47 at-bats following a return from the disabled list.

PREDICTION: Royals 5, Tigers 3