Another day, another walkoff win for the Tigers. This time, Ian Kinsler was the hero for the Detroit Tigers, as they defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1 in ten innings.
The Royals had a chance early on against Detroit starter Max Scherzer. Norichika Aoki led off with a walk and Omar Infante followed with a base hit. After a fly ball moved Aoki up to third, the Royals had runners at the corners and Billy Butler at the dish. Unfortunately for the Royals, Butler swung at a 3-0 pitch, grounding into a double play to end the threat.
From that point, Scherzer settled in, keeping the Royals offense from doing much of anything. Meanwhile, starter Jason Vargas was matching Scherzer virtually pitch for pitch, as the game remained scoreless heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Then, Vargas made a mistake. Ian Kinsler crushed a hanging curve on the first pitch of his at bat, sending into the seats in left center for a home run to put the Tigers ahead 1-0. While Vargas settled in from that point, Scherzer continued to cruise. That one run looked as though it may have been enough to hold up.
The Tigers threatened to score again in the sixth, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Vargas then appeared as though he induced Tyler Collins to ground into a double play, which would have allowed him to pitch around the dangerous Miguel Cabrera. Instead, Collins was called safe after review. Vargas bore down once again, getting Cabrera to ground into a fielder’s choice before striking out Victor Martinez to end the threat.
The Royals finally threatened again in the eighth. Salvador Perez led off with a ringing double and was lifted for pinch runner Jarrod Dyson. However, Scherzer struck out the next two batters before getting Alcides Escobar to fly out, as the Tigers clung to the 1-0 lead.
Vargas would leave after the seventh, having given up one run on five hits and a walk, striking out six. Yet, as good as Vargas was, Scherzer was even better, pitching eight shutout innings while allowing four hits and a walk, striking out seven.
Kansas City finally got on the board in the top of the ninth. Joe Nathan, who was brought in to solidify the closer spot for Detroit, struggled, loading the bases with one out. Alex Gordon hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring pinch runner Pedro Ciriaco to tie the game. After a balk moved the runners to second and third, Brett Hayes hit a hard one hopper at Kinsler to end the threat.
Replay was not kind again to the Royals in the top of the tenth. With two outs and Lorenzo Cain on second, Aoki was called safe on a weak groundball to the mound. However, Brad Ausmus once again successfully challenged the call, and the Tigers got out of another jam.
That was all they needed. With two out and runners on first and second, Ian Kinsler once again came to bat. This time, he drove Tim Collins‘ 1-1 offering into the gap in left center, scoring Austin Jackson to send the Royals to their second one run loss. Collins took the loss, allowing a run on a hit and two walks in .2 innings of work.
Omar Infante was 2-4 for the Royals in the defeat.