DETROIT -- Justin Verlander's season has had plenty of ups and downs. Billy Butler's success off of him, though, is a constant.
The Royals designated hitter lined two more singles off Verlander in a 2-1 win over the Tigers in Friday afternoon's opener of a day-night doubleheader, improving to 27-for-62 (.435) for his career against the Tigers ace. His only out was a well-struck line out to right field. Just two other hitters with at least 50 plate appearances against Verlander are batting at least .300 against him: Joe Mauer (23-for-62, .371), Ichiro Suzuki (20-for-65, .308).
Verlander seemingly had figured out Butler for a couple years, holding him to 3-for-13 from 2010-11. He's 13-for-23 since, all of the hits singles. The saving grace for Verlander is that Butler has just two career homers off of him.
"I didn't throw him very good pitches [Friday], but obviously he puts good swings on my pitches," Verlander said. "But here's a guy with nobody on, he hits a single and it's probably going to take either a single and a double or three hits to score him. He's not the fleetest afoot. He's not going to steal a base. It's not the end-all be-all, and most of his hits off me have been singles."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.