KANSAS CITY -- Victor Martinez went deep three times and Miguel Cabrera drilled a two-run go-ahead shot in the seventh as the Tigers used a six-homer onslaught to rally for a 10-4 victory over the Royals on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. But it wasn't all good news for Detroit, which lost slugger J.D. Martinez to a broken right elbow.
The Royals, whose five-game winning streak was snapped, dropped out of first place in the American League Central, falling a half-game behind the idle Indians, who lead the Tigers by 1 1/2. The six homers the Royals allowed tied a club record that last occurred in 2007, here against Oakland.
"There wasn't a great feeling in the dugout the first two innings," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It seemed like everything was moving underwater a little bit. But they kept plugging away, and then the bats came alive."
The Tigers took the lead for good in the seventh, hitting two homers off Royals reliever Luke Hochevar to wipe out a 4-3 deficit. James McCann tied it with a solo shot, and Cabrera hit his 13th home run with a man on to give Detroit a 6-4 lead.
"It doesn't feel good at all to give up three runs, especially when you have the lead," Hochevar said. "One unexecuted curveball to McCann. You're facing Miguel Cabrera, you don't want to give him anything good to hit. He caught a fastball away."
Right-hander Justin Verlander went seven innings for the Tigers and got his seventh win. He gave up four runs on eight hits and struck out seven.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy gave up three solo home runs and labored through five innings, but left with a 4-3 lead. Duffy gave up four hits, walked two and struck out four. He threw 88 pitches.
"He started laboring in the fourth a little bit," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Duffy. "We got him through five innings and we had the lead. We'll take that with our bullpen. It just didn't work out tonight."
Added Duffy, "I hung our bullpen out to dry. My goal was to get into the seventh. It didn't happen. I'll take this and build on it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED V-Mart gives knee an easy workout: After being held out of the lineup the past few days after getting a cortisone shot in his sore right knee, Victor Martinez gave the joint a few easy trots around the bases with the second three-homer game of his career, and his first since 2004. All three were solo shots, two of them off Duffy to lead off the second and fourth innings. V-Mart completed his night with a drive off Chien-Ming Wang to lead off the ninth.
"We were able to put together good at-bats, keep fighting and we ended up pulling out a big win late," Martinez said. More >
Welcome back:Brett Eibner, fresh off the disabled list (ankle sprain), picked up right where he left off as he singled sharply up the middle off Verlander in the second, driving in Paulo Orlando, who had tripled. In his next at-bat, Eibner, who was 6-for-13 before his injury, belted a fastball to right-center for his first career homer. Statcast™ projected the distance for the solo shot at 422 feet with an exit velocity of 106 mph.
"I'm always looking to hit every pitch," Eibner said of his matchups with Verlander. "I got to be aggressive, especially against a guy like that with the stuff he has and the history he has. I can't afford to miss pitches, especially against him, so I jumped it, a fastball." More >
Miggy ends power drought: Cabrera hadn't homered since May 31 against the Angels when he stepped to the plate with a runner on and two outs in the seventh inning of a 4-4 game, but his go-ahead home run looked like a typical Cabrera loft to the opposite field. Orlando gave chase before the ball cleared the fence for his 13th home run of the season, and his first at Kauffman Stadium since May 3 last year.
Quick start again: Royals rookie Whit Merrifield continues to shine in the leadoff role. In the seven games he has hit in the No. 1 spot, he has five first-inning hits. He singled in the first inning on Thursday night, went to third on Alcides Escobar's double and scored on Eric Hosmer's groundout. Escobar scored on a bloop double from Lorenzo Cain, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead.
TIGERS LOSE J.D. IN WIN
The Tigers' injury woes worsened when J.D. Martinez ran into the right-field wall tracking a deep fly ball by Orlando in the second inning, fracturing his right elbow. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. More >
"It's tough. We expect it to be this way. There's nothing easy in this game. We'll just keep playing this game and see what happens." -- Victor Martinez, on the ever-tightening AL Central race
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Michael Fulmer (7-1, 2.52 ERA) will try to continue his scoreless streak, now at 28 1/3 innings, when he takes the mound for the Tigers on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium. The rookie sensation hasn't allowed a run since May 21, and he has four consecutive scoreless performances of six or more innings with three or fewer hits allowed.
Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (5-4, 4.93 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals on Friday in the second game of the series. Ventura was brilliant his last time out, allowing one run over seven innings while striking out 10 at the White Sox.