Kansas City, MO – Eric Hosmer delivered the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to cap an improbable 3-2 comeback victory by the Kansas City Royals over the Detroit Tigers in the rubber match of a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
Facing Detroit reliever Phil Coke (0-4), Miguel Tejada led off the bottom of the 10th with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Alcides Escobar. After Alex Gordon moved Tejada to third with a groundout to first, Hosmer took the left-hander's pitch up the middle for the difference-maker.
Kansas City, which had a season-high six-game winning streak come to end with a 3-2 loss to Detroit on Tuesday, looked to be in line for a second straight defeat after Tigers starter Justin Verlander tossed seven stellar frames of scoreless ball.
Verlander appeared to have locked up his fifth straight win after allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out eight, but the Tigers couldn't hold a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth.
Lorenzo Cain erased the deficit with two outs and a runner on second in the inning, belting a two-run homer off Jose Valverde to send the game to extras.
"It hurts," said Verlander on not getting the win. "You have two outs with two strikes [and] the ball leaves the yard, so it's not a good feeling. They tied the game, so you've immediately got to change your mindset to win it."
Greg Holland (2-1) retired the side in order in the top of the 10th to secure the victory. Kansas City starter James Shields, who failed to earn a win in his eighth consecutive start, allowed both Detroit runs on seven hits over seven frames.
Brayan Pena and Prince Fielder drove in the only Detroit runs.
Detroit dominated the entirety of the contest and headed into the bottom of the ninth holding a 2-0 lead with Valverde on the mound.
Hosmer led off with a single, but Valverde retired the next two batters to face Cain with the Royals down to their final out. Hosmer, however, advanced to second on Billy Butler's strikeout which gave the Tigers the second out of the inning.
Valverde got ahead 0-2 on Cain, who had struck out three straight times against Verlander, but served up a high breaking ball over the middle of the plate that was crushed over the left-field wall to bring the Royals back from the dead and knot the game at 2-2.
"To have the [strikeout] hat trick and being able to hit a ball out of here was huge," said Cain. "I was glad I got a good pitch and got it over the fence to tie the game up."
Detroit found success versus Shields in the first, as Avisail Garcia led off with a double and Torii Hunter moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt. After Miguel Cabrera drew a walk, Fielder smacked a run-scoring single to left to make it 1-0.
Verlander, meanwhile, cruised through the Royals' lineup, allowing all three of his hits and both walks through his first six frames.
Matt Tuiasosopo opened up the fifth with a double and Pena came through with a two-bagger of his own to put the Tigers on top 2-0. Ultimately, though, the Tigers' bullpen couldn't come through in the clutch.
Shields' last win came on April 30 ... Verlander owns a 9-2 career record at Kauffman Stadium over 15 starts. He is 15-2 in 25 career starts versus the Royals overall ... Kansas City finished its nine-game homestand with a 7-2 record.