It looked as though James Shields would suffer through yet another loss. Instead, the KC Royals offense finally came through in the bottom of the ninth and went on to win 3-2 in ten innings over the visiting Detroit Tigers. The Royals won the three-game series and are 5.5 games back in the American League Central.
For eight innings, the Royals were shut out by Tigers ace Justin Verlander (and then Drew Smyly for an inning). Verlander continued his dominance over the Royals by allowing just three hits over seven innings. He walked two, but struck out eight.
Billy Butler led off the 2nd inning with a single off Verlander. Their next hit didn’t come until the fifth.
Then the 9th inning happened.
Eric Hosmer led off the inning with a single to chase Smyly from the game. In came Jose Valverde for his second straight save. He quickly recorded two outs, though Hosmer stole second base after Butler struck out (he didn’t get ejected this time).
Valverde had Lorenzo Cain down 0-2 and he looked silly all day (three prior strikeouts). However, Cain got extended on a pitch a bit high and down the middle and deposited it into the left field seats to tie the game at 2-2. Cain was pumped, almost jumping around as he hit the bases.
After Miguel Cabrera booted David Lough‘s grounder, Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out and removed Valverde from the game. In came lefty Phil Coke to face the left-handed hitting Mike Moustakas. Lough stole second base, but Moose hit a lazy fly ball to left to end the inning and send it into extra innings.
Greg Holland blew through the middle of the Tigers order on just 11 pitches (including two strikeouts).
Miguel Tejada, who came on in the ninth as a pinch-hitter, led off the tenth with a single. An Alcides Escobar bunt moved him to second base and an Alex Gordon ground out moved him to third base. That brought up Hosmer against the lefty Coke, and Hosmer drove the second fastball back up the middle for the game winner.
His teammates chased him around second base and began pounding on him. Someone (I couldn’t tell who), got him in the face with a towel full of Butler‘s rally sauce. Oh and Elliot Johnson tried to pull down Hosmer‘s pants.
Now to Shields.
He wasn’t great, as the Tigers had base runners in every inning but the second and fourth innings. Shields allowed seven hits and walked two over seven innings. He did strike out six.
The Royals now travel to Tampa to play the Rays over the next four days. It begins on Thursday night with Ervin Santana going up against Jeremy Hellickson.