KANSAS CITY -- Eric Hosmer knocked in the game's lone run with a two-out single in the sixth inning, and rookie left-hander Eric Skoglund dazzled in his Major League debut with 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the Royals' 1-0 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
"We kept saying in the dugout, we have to find a way to get a run," Hosmer said. "He was pitching way too well to not get a win. It fired us up."
Skoglund, 24, retired 14 straight batters at one point. He left after getting Victor Martinez to fly out softly to start the seventh. Skoglund gave up two singles -- one to Martinez and the other to Dixon Machado -- while walking one and striking out five.
"When I went to get him and came back," Royals manager Ned Yost said, "[Home-plate umpire] Tim Timmons whistled at me and he goes, 'That kid's got good stuff.' Yeah, I think I just saw."
Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander was almost as unhittable. Verlander worked seven innings and gave up six hits, five of those singles, and one run. He walked one and struck out five.
"Obviously it was nice to pitch well, but we didn't win," Verlander said. "So it was disheartening."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hos comes through: Verlander got into trouble in the sixth when Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas opened with solid singles. Verlander, though, induced a hard ground-ball double play from Lorenzo Cain as Escobar took third. But then, Hosmer jumped on a 2-1 slider that stayed up in the zone and he stroked a single to center, scoring Escobar.
Big early K: Who knows how the game would have turned for Skoglund if he hadn't gotten out of a jam in the first inning? With two out, Skoglund walked Miguel Cabrera and gave up a single to Victor Martinez. Skoglund then appeared to have struck out J.D. Martinez on a 1-2 fastball at the corner on the knees that was called a ball. No matter -- Skoglund got him swinging on a curveball on the next pitch. More >
Skoglund said, however, that the Martinez strikeout wasn't necessarily a confidence boost.
"I'm going to have confidence," Skoglund said. "I'm just trying to execute pitches."
Added Hosmer, "I think the biggest thing that impressed all of us was that there was no fear. He just kept attacking."
"The common thread is we're not swinging the bats well. That's the common thread. If we're swinging the bats well, it doesn't matter who's on the mound, to some degree." -- Ausmus, on the Tigers' offense, which has been shut out this road trip in starts from Skoglund, Tyler Danish and Brad PeacockMore >
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Verlander's fell to 22-10 lifetime against the Royals, but improved his ERA to 3.18. No active pitcher has more wins vs. the Royals, and only Bert Blyleven (34), Mark Buehrle (26), Roger Clemens (25) and Nolan Ryan (24) have more all-time. Verlander's ERA against the Royals ranks fifth among active pitchers behind Chris Sale (2.97), Jered Weaver (2.98), CC Sabathia (3.11) and Corey Kluber (3.21).
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield hustled and beat out a routine grounder to third in the fifth inning, extending his career-high hitting streak to 15 games.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Lefty Matthew Boyd (2-5, 5.40 ERA) will start the series finale on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. ET, as he tries to pitch his way out of a funk that has seen him surrender 14 runs on 29 hits over 12 1/3 innings in his previous three starts. He's 1-3 with a 9.00 ERA in six career starts against the Royals, who have batted .379 with a 1.023 OPS against him.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (0-4, 4.43) gets the ball for the series finale against the Tigers on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. CT. Kennedy gave up four runs over five innings in his previous start on Friday against the Indians in a game the Royals rallied to win, 6-4.