Anyone who tracked the Royals in recent years knows how they once just rolled over when facing Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Well take a look at what’s happened this season.

Salvy Perez’s two-run homer Saturday night lifted the Royals to 4-3 victory over Verlander and the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. It also rewarded Wade Davis with a victory on his 28th birthday for some solid relief work.

And yes it kept the candle burning for another day on the Royals‘ bid to reach postseason for the first time since the year Davis was born.

At 74-68 they closed temporarily to within four games of Tampa Bay in the chase for the American League’s final wild-card berth. The Rays played late Saturday in Seattle.

But it also marked the Royals’ third straight victory over Verlander their one-time ultimate nemesis. And it marked the fifth time this season in five games that they beat the Tigers in a game started by Verlander.

This guy remember was 15-2 in 23 career starts against the Royals prior to this season. Former Royals first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz once said the only way to hit Verlander was to employ Jedi mind tricks.

So things have changed.

It was 2-2 when Eric Hosmer opened the sixth inning with a double to right-center field. Verlander 12-11 struck out Billy Butler before Hosmer went to third on Mike Moustakas’ fly to deep left.

Perez then jumped a 98-mph fastball from Verlander and sent it 407 feet to left for his 11th homer of the season. The Royals led 4-2.