KANSAS CITY – The Royals waited until they were down to a final strike before getting any offense on Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers. Lorenzo Cain tied the game up with a two-out, two-strike, two-run homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning. After Greg Holland set the middle of the Tigers’ lineup down in order, Eric Hosmer singled in Miguel Tejada to win the game and take the series against the central division leaders.
The win puts the Royals at 30-33 and moves them to 5.5 games behind the Tigers for first place in the division; they are also 6.5 games behind the AL Wild Card leaders. KC has been hot, winners of seven of the last eight.
Despite the win, it was a challenging day at the plate with Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander holding the Royals scoreless and only allowing three hits over the seven innings pitched. It wasn’t much in the way run support for James Shields, who scattered seven hits and only allowed two runs over seven innings. The Royals’ have only averaged 3.29 runs for Shields’ starts, which helps explain why he has a 2-6 record despite an ERA of 2.79.
But despite the mostly quiet bats, the Royals stayed in position to win because the bullpen picked up where Shields left off. Three relievers tossed three collective scoreless innings without allowing a hit. For his efforts in the 10th inning, Holland was credited with the win. Phil Coke got the loss, who continued to pitch after getting the final out in the ninth inning.
On Thursday the Royals will travel to Tampa for the start of a seven game road trip, four of those against the Rays and the following three against divisional foe Cleveland. They return to Kansas City a week from Friday when they start a series against the Chicago White Sox.