Verlander, a notoriously routine-oriented pitcher, was warming up for the first pitch when the umpiring crew noticed the lights out and talked to manager Brad Ausmus. According to Rule 4,01(g), the umpire has the right to order the lights on to ensure safe play, even if darkness hasn't overtaken the sky.
"The umpire-in-chief shall order the playing field lights turned on whenever in his opinion darkness makes further play in daylight hazardous," the rule states.
That proved easier written than executed. The ballpark operations crew tried several times to turn on the lights, only to see bulbs flicker briefly and turn off. The Tigers had been on the road for the past week, with the ballpark used for a Zac Brown Band concert last Saturday.
Verlander, clearly unhappy with his routine broken and his arm cooling off, was pleading with umpires to start the game anyway, as was Ausmus, to no avail.
Eventually, Verlander walked off the mound and into the dugout, back onto the field, then to the clubhouse during the break. His defense, meanwhile, stayed on the field and waited, with first baseman Miguel Cabrera chatting with Royals first-base coach and former Tigers outfielder Rusty Kuntz for most of the delay.
Finally, another round of flickering turned the lights on, and they powered up quickly while Verlander warmed again. His first pitch to Alex Gordon came in around 7:31 p.m. ET.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.