KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brandon Moss doubled off the wall in the ninth to score the tying run, and Alex Gordon drove him home with a sacrifice fly to bail out closer Kelvin Herrera and give the Kansas City Royals a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
Moss homered in the third inning before coming through against Tigers closer Justin Wilson (3-4) in the ninth — shortly after Mikie Mahtook’s two-run shot off Herrera had given Detroit the lead.
Moss went to third on the throw to the plate, and Gordon sent a fly ball to center that was just deep enough to give him his sixth career walk-off RBI and the Royals a much-needed win.
They had lost the first two games of the series and seven of eight overall.
Jason Hammel and three Royals relievers had successfully ushered a 2-1 lead to Herrera, who proceeded to walk Victor Martinez in the ninth. Andrew Romine came in to pinch run and swiped second base, but all that did was shorten his trot home when Mahtook went deep.
Herrera (2-3) threw one more pitch before summoning the training staff and leaving the game. There was no immediate word on whether the Royals’ closer was hurt.
Kevin McCarthy (1-0) got the final two outs to earn the win.
Justin Verlander scattered six hits and a walk over seven innings while striking out eight, but he was in line for the loss after Mike Moustakas hit an RBI single in the seventh. Bruce Rondon kept Detroit close with a scoreless eighth before Wilson let things get away from him in the ninth.
Verlander retired the first seven batters he faced. And after Moss sent an 0-1 pitch off the foul pole in right for a tying home run, Verlander proceeded to breeze through the next couple of innings.
He even helped himself by picking off Jorge Bonifacio at second base to end the sixth.
But Hammel matched him inning-for-inning after the first, when he gave up two singles and Miguel Cabrera drove in the game’s first run. Hammel retired the next nine batters he faced, then six more after Nicholas Castellanos managed a single in the fourth.
Hammel gave up another single in the fifth but promptly struck out Cabrera to end the inning, and got a standing ovation when he left after a one-out walk to Martinez in the seventh.
Tigers LHP Daniel Norris (left groin strain) will likely make another rehab start at Triple-A Toledo, manager Brad Ausmus said. Norris was hit hard in three innings Tuesday night.
Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer tries to win his fifth straight start when the teams meet in the finale of their four-game series Thursday night. Fulmer allowed one run and two hits in eight innings against the Blue Jays his last time out. He will face Royals LHP Danny Duffy, who surrendered his only run in the ninth inning of a 1-0 loss to the Rangers on Sunday.