Eric Hosmer caps Kansas City Royals' ninth-inning uprising, jolts Detroit Tigers

By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 25, 2016 at 1:10 AM
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DETROIT -- Just because the Kansas City Royals are not likely to make the playoffs this season does not mean they can't send out the occasional reminder they are the defending World Series champions.

Paulo Orlando ripped a two-run double with two out in the ninth inning and Eric Hosmer followed one walk later with a three-run home run that helped Kansas City pin a potentially damaging 7-4 loss on Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

Detroit entered the day a half-game ahead of Baltimore for the American League's second wild-card spot and a game in back of Toronto. Each was playing later in the day.

"Obviously these are huge games for them right now," said Hosmer, whose 24th home run gave him 100 RBIs for the first time in his career. "They're right in the thick of things in the wild card.

"It's kind of a flashback of what the Royals did and what we do. We obviously got away from it for a couple months, played some up and down ball. This is what we do. We keep it close to the end. We're hard to put away as a team. It was good to see signs of that same team."

Hosmer's home run came on a low 1-1 changeup by Francisco Rodriguez (3-4), who suffered the loss after blowing his fourth save opportunity out of 48 chances this season.

Orlando tied the score at 4-4 with a two-run double to deep center on a 2-2 changeup by the Detroit closer. Alex Gordon and rookie Hunter Dozier each singled earlier.

"It was a changeup," Orlando said. "I remember that the last time I faced him at home he threw a lot of changeups. I was pretty excited to hit the ball the first two pitches.

"He threw me a changeup, fastball, and then changeup in the dirt. So I said, 'OK.' I waited for a changeup. Put a pretty good swing on it."

Wade Davis (2-1) got the win with a scoreless eighth and Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his 12th save.

"Nothing's automatic in baseball," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "The truth is, we pushed enough runs across to have the lead.

"It's just Frankie (Rodriguez) had an off day. You're going to have an off day from time to time. He's been outstanding. We wouldn't be here without him. Like they say, (stuff) happens."

Detroit took a two-run lead in the sixth on J.D. Martinez's second RBI single. Martinez, who was 0-for-12 entering the game, grounded a single to left on a 3-2 pitch to make it 4-2. Two walks off reliever Matt Strahm preceded the hit.

Kendrys Morales hit his 30th home run leading off the sixth, drawing Kansas City up to within 3-2. The last Royal to reach 30 home runs was Jermaine Dye, who hit 33 in 2000.

The Royals' Yordano Ventura had to leave the game with lower back tightness after throwing a 1-2 pitch that Justin Upton bounced down the first base line for a double leading off the fifth.

Ventura was touched for 10 hits and three runs in his four-plus innings. He struck out six and walked two, one intentionally.

Lefty Daniel Norris pitched the first 5 2/3 innings for the Tigers and left with a 3-2 lead. He gave up six hits, struck out six and walked two.

The Tigers bumped their lead to 3-1 in the fourth on consecutive singles by Jose Iglesias, Kinsler and Cameron Maybin.

Kinsler started a two-run rally for Detroit in the third with a leadoff topped single that Ventura could not pick up on his way to first. Ventura's wild pickoff throw let Kinsler take third and he scored when Maybin bounced a single up the middle against a drawn-in infield.

Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez followed with singles to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Maybin and Kinsler each had three singles in the game.

Alcides Escobar hit a one-out sacrifice fly in the second inning to get Kansas City off to a 1-0 lead. Morales walked leading off and went to third on a ground single to center by Salvador Perez.

NOTES: SS Jose Iglesias was back at shortstop for Detroit on Saturday after taking a wild throw off his right hand running out a ground ball to short in the sixth inning Friday night. ... C Salvador Perez returned behind the plate after getting a night off to rest a sore knee. Manager Ned Yost had indicated the injury was nothing serious. ... Tigers 3B Nick Castellanos (hand) was scheduled to take part in an Instructional League games Monday and Wednesday but after the game manager Brad Ausmus said he's unlikely to return to the starting lineup at this point.

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