DETROIT (AP) — Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Detroit Tigers a 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
After Tyler Collins hit a leadoff single, Saltalamacchia won it with a drive off Joakim Soria (3-4) that easily cleared the wall in right field. The catcher raised his right arm in celebration almost immediately as he trotted toward first base.
Those were the only two RBIs of the day for Detroit. The Tigers scored their first two runs of the game on a balk and a wild pitch.
Francisco Rodriguez (1-0) pitched a perfect top of the ninth for the win.
Detroit rookie Michael Fulmer allowed two runs and six hits in eight innings. Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings.
The Royals led 2-0 when Detroit began chipping away in the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Ventura struck out Miguel Cabrera, but with Victor Martinez up, the Kansas City right-hander was called for a balk, allowing a run to score.
Ventura struck out Martinez to end the inning, but with two outs in the sixth, he gave up a drive to the gap in right-center by Nick Castellanos that became a triple when the Royals had issues getting the ball back in. Castellanos came home on a wild pitch.
Kansas City opened the scoring in the second on an RBI double by Cheslor Cuthbert, and Eric Hosmer added a run-scoring single in the third.
Tigers: RHP Warwick Saupold (right groin strain) made a rehab start Saturday night for Class A Lakeland. He allowed four unearned runs on three hits with three walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (8-8) starts against Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (9-8) on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against the AL Central-leading Indians.
Tigers: Detroit starts a three-game set against Minnesota with LHP Matt Boyd (0-2) on the mound against Ricky Nolasco (4-7).