The Detroit Tigers thought they had this game won in regulation but needed to work two more innings before finally beating the Royals, 6-5. For the third straight game the Tigers pulled Kansas City back towards the Toronto Blue Jays in the battle for best record in the American League and home field advantage throughout the postseason.
The Tigers thought they had a walk-off winner in the bottom of the ninth. With the score tied at 5, Ian Kinsler opened the inning with a single to center off Royals’ reliever Luke Hochevar. Miguel Cabrera was grazed on the hand by an inside pitch and after review, was awarded first base with Kinsler advancing to second. He then stole third to give the Tigers runners on the corners with no one out.
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J.D. Martinez followed by grounding to Hochevar who threw to second to force Cabrera with Kinsler holding at third. Victor Martinez walked to load the bases for Andrew Romine, who had replaced Nick Castellanos at third base in the eighth inning.
Romine lined out to center fielder Jarred Dyson with Kinsler tagging. The throw came in on the first base side of the plate where catcher Salvador Perez snagged the ball and dove towards Kinsler as he slid in feet-first.. Home Plate umpire Gary Cederstrom called Kinsler safe and the Tigers mobbed the field to celebrate a walk-off victory.
Ned Yost jumped from the Royals’ dugout and requested a review of the play. As everyone waited nervously, hoping to continue the celebration, the safe call was overturned. It was ruled that Perez made the tag just before Kinsler’s toe scraped the plate and for the third straight game the teams came out for the tenth inning.
Kinsler finally ended things for good in the eleventh when he lined a curveball from reliever Miguel Almonte (0-1) over the left field wall. Tom Gorzelanny (2-2) relieved Neftali Feliz in the tenth and recorded the win after retiring all six batters he faced, with the help of a strike him out, throw him out double play to end the tenth.
Matt Boyd started for the Tigers and pitched six strong innings, his best performance since his first start with the team on August 5th, also against the Royals. Boyd made two mistakes in the game. Kendrys Morales in the second inning and Mike Moustakas in the fifth both took high fastballs and parked them in the stands for solo home runs. Still, Boyd was relieved for the seventh with a 3-2 lead.
The Tigers put runners on base every inning but the sixth against Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez but struggled to score any of them. They left 11 men on base for the game.
The Tigers scored two in the third when Cabrera lined a single to right, scoring Alex Avila and Anthony Gose to give the team a 2-1 lead. In the fifth they had Cabrera on third and J.D. Martinez on second with one out but could only score one when Victor Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly to center, making the score 3-2.
They took another temporary lead in the seventh when Victor Martinez launched a two run homer to right but the Royals tied the game in the eighth with a solo home run from Eric Hosmer.
Another in a Long Line of Bullpen Failures
Blaine Hardy relieved Boyd in the seventh and immediately served up a double to Hosmer. He retired the next two hitters before being relieved by Al Alburquerque, who uncorked a wild pitch to score Hosmer, who had advanced to third on a ground out.
After walking the next two hitters, the second intentionally after pinch-runner Dyson stole second, Ian Krol entered the game. Krol walked Alex Gordon to load the bases but struck out Ben Zobrist swinging to end the threat.
Bruce Rondon came out for the eighth and gave up the home run to Hosmer to tie the score at five.