Detroit, MI – The Tigers came into this season with a world of expectations.
So far, they've been one of baseball's disappointments, but they're beginning to show some life. For the first time in two months, Detroit can say it has a winning baseball team.
Delmon Young homered for the second straight game, and Prince Fielder also homered to help the Tigers climb above .500 with a tough 8-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Both homers plated two runs, and Austin Jackson and Gerald Laird contributed three hits apiece, as Detroit won its fourth straight to move to 43-42, the first winning record for the club since 16-15 on May 10.
"It's going to take every guy on this team to get to the ultimate goal and that's go to the postseason and win a World Series," said Laird. "Prince and Miggy (Miguel Cabrera) are going to do their damage, we know that. But we got to set the table for them."
Doug Fister (2-6) was solid yet unspectacular, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks in six-plus innings. It was the Tigers' offense that helped him get the win, the 153rd straight game in which Detroit has not been shut out.
Mike Moustakas homered and drove in three runs for Kansas City, which fell 9 1/2 games out of first with the loss. Bruce Chen (7-8) didn't last long, surrendering six runs and nine hits in only 3 1/3 innings.
Despite a four-run lead heading into the ninth, Jose Valverde found a way to make the ending exciting.
Two walks and a double loaded the bases with nobody out and brought the tying run to the plate. Billy Butler singled to score two and cut Kansas City's deficit from four to two.
Valverde finally settled down and retired the next two hitters, although a run scored when Jackson made a running basket catch for the second out in center.
After a stolen base by pinch-runner Jason Bourgeois, Jeff Francoeur represented the go-ahead run with the tying run at second and two outs, but Francoeur struck out to end the game.
"We just battled back. We don't quit playing until the last out's made and we made it really interesting there at the end," said Royals manager Ned Yost.
The game was tied, 2-2, after only one inning, but Detroit surged ahead in the second.
With runners on second and third and only one out, Laird's first hit of the day went for a two-run double to center, and he scored on the next play when Jackson singled.
Miguel Cabrera's sacrifice fly in the fourth put Detroit ahead by four, but Moustakas answered with his solo shot in the fifth. Yuniesky Betancourt added a sacrifice fly for Kansas City in the seventh, but Young restored the Tigers' four-run lead with a two-run blast off Nate Adcock in the home half.
The Tigers looked to be cruising to a victory before Valverde was less than stellar in the ninth.
Detroit leads the season series, 6-1...Alcides Escobar and Butler both finished with three hits for Kansas City...The Tigers haven't won four straight since doing it twice within the first 12 games of the season.