DETROIT — After rallying late to force extra innings, the Kansas City Royals crushed the ball in the 10th, and cruised to an 8-3 win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.
With one out in the 10th, Phil Coke intentionally walked Jeff Francoeur to load the bases. Coke then walked George Kattaras, giving the Royals a 4-3 lead. With two outs and the bases loaded, Alex Gordon crushed his first career grand slam, a mammoth shot over the center field fence.
After splitting the two-game series, the first-place Royals (11-8, 7-6 away) maintain a one-game lead in the AL Central. The Tigers (10-10, 5-3 home) sank to third place, and are now 1.5 games back.
Kansas City trailed 3-2 in the eighth, before a sacrifice fly by Lorenzo Cain scored Jarrod Dyson. Reliever Tim Collins (1-0, 1.17 ERA) pitched brilliantly in the ninth, striking out Prince Fielder and Jhonny Peralta to force extra innings.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander (1.95 ERA) gave up two runs on eight hits in seven innings, fanning four and walking one. James Shields (3.09 ERA) went one further, surrendering three runs on five hits in eight innings, fanning four and walking three.
Phil Coke (0-3, 8.31 ERA) earned the loss. After a successful 4-3 road trip, the Royals begin a 10-game homestand on Friday night, starting with the Cleveland Indians.
Ervin Santana (2-1, 2.48 ERA) takes the mound against lefty Scott Kazmir (16.20 ERA) for game one at Kauffman Stadium.