DETROIT -- Billy Butler has owned Justin Verlander throughout his career. The rest of his Kansas City Royals teammates caught up to Verlander on Monday.
Butler smacked a go-ahead, three-run double as the streaking Royals pummeled the struggling Detroit Tigers right-hander for seven runs and 12 hits over six innings in an 11-8 Royals victory on Monday night at Comerica Park.
Second baseman Omar Infante hit a three-run homer and an RBI single off Verlander, his former teammate, to help the Royals extend their winning streak to eight games. Verlander came into the game with a 17-5 record against Kansas City despite his lack of success against Butler, who is now batting .434 in 76 official at-bats against him.
"I can't put my finger on it. I just try to go up there and simplify things, put the barrel on it and let the ball go wherever it goes," Butler said of his dominance of Verlander. "I'm finding holes against him but that could change. Today, it might have been a combination of us being so hot and capitalizing on any mistake that he made. In the past, we may not have done that type of damage against him."
Left fielder Alex Gordon and center fielder Lorenzo Cain had three hits apiece for the Royals, who posted a season-high run total. Royals left-hander Jason Vargas (7-2) gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings, helping Kansas City (37-32) pull within a half-game of first-place Detroit (36-30) in the American League Central following the opener of a four-game series.
The Royals were swept in two previous meetings against the Tigers this season.
"Yes, it was a good win for us against Justin, who has had our number for his whole career, but we're still 1-5 against these guys," Butler said. "We've got to move on from this."
Verlander (6-7) gave up seven runs for the second consecutive start. He allowed at least five runs for the sixth time in his past seven starts.
"Frustrating? Yes. End of the world? No," Verlander said. "You've got to keep your eye on the big picture. Every athlete throughout the course of their career is going to go through ups and downs. It's a matter of how you come out of them, not what happens while you're in it."
Verlander had the rare sensation of being heavily booed as he walked off the mound in the sixth.
"Fans are frustrated and so am I," he said. "That's part of the game. They've cheered me plenty and they have the right to boo because they're frustrated. If I was sitting in the stands, I'd probably boo myself today, too. But I will get better and they'll cheer me again."
Tigers left fielder Rajai Davis had three hits and drove in two runs, and right fielder J.D. Martinez hit a grand slam during Detroit's six-run ninth.
The Royals blew the game open on Infante's two-out, three-run homer in the sixth off Verlander, taking a 7-2 lead.
"It was up instead of being on the black," Verlander said. "It ran back to the middle up. I've played with Omar and I know middle up is no bueno."
Kansas City tacked on four runs against reliever Evan Reed in the seventh with the aid of Reed's throwing error, which allowed two runs to score. Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar drove in the other runs with singles for an 11-2 lead.
Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the third on Davis' RBI double. Center fielder Austin Jackson's run-scoring single, which brought home designated hitter Victor Martinez, made it 2-0 in the fourth.
Kansas City erased Detroit's advantage with a four-run fifth. Infante knocked in the Royals' first run with a single. First baseman Eric Hosmer's broken-bat single loaded the bases with one out before Butler, the Royals' designated hitter, belted a bases-clearing double to deep center.
"Billy hits good starters," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "That's one thing Billy does. You go through our division and Billy hits most No. 1 starters really well."
NOTES: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter left the game during the fourth inning with a right hamstring cramp. Hunter sustained the injury while leaving the batter's box after hitting a single. ... Detroit RHP and reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who tossed the first shutout of his career against the Chicago White Sox last week, opposes RHP Yordano Ventura on Tuesday night. ... Kansas City is 31-4 when scoring at least four runs. ... Tigers rookie 3B Nick Castellanos was hitting .436 over his last 10 games. ... Royals batters have struck out 394 times this year, the only major league team with fewer than 400 strikeouts.