Royals

Led by Paulo Orlando and Eric Hosmer, Royals roar back to beat Tigers 7-4

The Royals’ Eric Hosmer (left) was greeted by teammates after his three-run home run in the ninth inning Saturday against the Tigers in Detroit. The blast capped a five-run rally for the Royals to win the game 7-4.
The Royals’ Eric Hosmer (left) was greeted by teammates after his three-run home run in the ninth inning Saturday against the Tigers in Detroit. The blast capped a five-run rally for the Royals to win the game 7-4. The Associated Press

After Eric Hosmer had silenced Comerica Park with one swing, and after thousands of stunned fans had streamed to the exits through the afternoon sunlight, the Royals retreated to the quiet of the visitors’ clubhouse.

They blared their victory soundtrack, and Jarrod Dyson danced, and Kendrys Morales savored his 30th homer of the season. And when the celebration was over, when the Royals had officially ended a four-game losing streak with a ferocious comeback in a 7-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers, left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy leaned back in a leather chair on the near side of the room.

“That was sick,” he said aloud, to no one in particular. “We needed that.”

Duffy did not pitch on Saturday. He had the day off. He spent most of the afternoon wearing a sweatshirt inside the first-base dugout, but when it came to truth-telling, his words hung in the air.

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The Royals, 78-77, did need this, of course. They had lost four straight on the road, and their offense had mustered just 11 runs in five games before the ninth inning Saturday. Theylost starting pitcher Yordano Ventura to a tight lower back after just four-plus innings — he is expected to make his final start — and they were barreling toward their second five-game skid in the last two weeks. They were, in one moment, one strike away from falling below .500 for the first time since Aug. 16.

And then the ninth inning began. Paulo Orlando erased a 4-2 deficit with a two-out, two-run double against Detroit reliever Francisco Rodriguez, the baseball carrying over the head of Detroit center fielder Cameron Maybin and scoring Alex Gordon and pinch runner Terrance Gore. Moments later, Hosmer cleared out the stadium with a three-run blast, reaching 100 RBIs for the first time as the baseball landed in the seats beyond right field.

Hosmer’s homer offered a gut punch to the city of Detroit, whose team had entered the day in position for the second American League wild card. It left the Royals in the rare position of spoiler. As Hosmer circled the bases, he could feel a stadium turning numb.

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“Obviously, these are huge games for them right now,” Hosmer said. “They’re right in the thick of things in the wild card. It was kind of a flashback of what the Royals did — and what we do.”

Hosmer, who began the game with three strikeouts in four at-bats, went 1 for 5 and finished the day at 100 RBIs, reaching the benchmark for the first time in his six-year career.

“It feels really good,” he said. “It’s our job in the middle of the lineup to drive in runs. That’s the goals for me and (Morales) every year, drive in as many runs as we can. So it was a good day for both of us.”

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Before the ninth inning, Morales had supplied half the offense. He clubbed his 30th homer to left field in the top of the sixth, becoming the first Royals player to reach the milestone since Jermaine Dye hit 33 in 2000. Not that he realized that.

“I didn’t know that,” Morales said, speaking through interpreted Pedro Grifol. “But to hit 30 is extremely difficult. I’m glad I was able to do it.”

Morales’ homer sliced the Tigers’ lead to 3-2 in the sixth. But Detroit added another insurance run against Royals reliever Matt Strahm in the bottom half of the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Royals manager Ned Yost called on closer Wade Davis in an effort to give the right-hander some work. That set up a dramatic ninth, when Orlando supplied the most momentous hit of the afternoon.

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After Gordon and rookie Hunter Dozier had singled, Yost inserted Gore to pinch run. Down to his final strike, Orlando sat on a change-up from Rodriguez.

“I remember the last time I faced him at home,” Orlando said. “He threw a lot of change-ups.”

So Orlando waited for a change-up, and when it came, he did not miss. He hammered the ball to center field, and the double sparked a comeback. The Royals, stumbling toward the finish line, got back on the right side of .500 entering the series finale on Sunday.

“This is what we do,” Hosmer said. “We keep it close to the end; we’re hard to put away as a team, and it was good to see signs of that same team we all remember.”

Royals 7, Tigers 4

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Orlando cf-rf

5

1

2

2

0

0

.295

Cuthbert 3b

4

1

1

0

1

0

.276

Hosmer dh

5

1

1

3

0

3

.268

Morales 1b

4

2

2

1

1

0

.263

Perez c

5

0

1

0

0

1

.249

Gordon lf

4

1

1

0

0

1

.218

Escobar ss

3

0

1

1

0

0

.267

Dozier rf

3

0

1

0

1

1

.286

2-Gore pr

0

1

0

0

0

0

.000

Dyson cf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.264

Mondesi 2b

3

0

0

0

0

1

.181

a-Nava ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.200

Merrifield 2b

0

0

0

0

0

0

.282

Totals

37

7

10

7

3

8

Detroit

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Kinsler 2b

4

1

3

0

1

0

.282

Maybin cf

5

2

3

2

0

0

.321

Cabrera 1b

4

0

1

0

1

2

.307

V.Martinez dh

4

0

1

0

1

2

.291

1-Jones pr-dh

0

0

0

0

0

0

.222

J.Martinez rf

4

0

2

2

1

1

.311

Upton lf

5

0

2

0

0

1

.240

McCann c

4

0

1

0

0

2

.220

b-Aybar ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.239

Romine 3b

5

0

0

0

0

1

.237

Iglesias ss

5

1

1

0

0

1

.248

Totals

41

4

14

4

4

10

Kansas City

010

001

005

7

10

1

Detroit

002

101

000

4

14

1

a-struck out for Mondesi in the 9th. b-grounded out for McCann in the 9th.

1-ran for V.Martinez in the 8th. 2-ran for Dozier in the 9th.

2B: Orlando (21), Upton (26). HR: Morales (30), off Norris; Hosmer (24), off Rodriguez. RBIs: Orlando 2 (42), Hosmer 3 (100), Morales (90), Escobar (53), Maybin 2 (43), J.Martinez 2 (65). SF: Escobar. E: Ventura (4), Kinsler (9).

LOB: Kansas City 7, Detroit 14. Runners left in scoring position:Kansas City 2 (Hosmer, Mondesi); Detroit 8 (J.Martinez 2, Upton, McCann 3, Iglesias 2). RISP: Kansas City 2 for 6; Detroit 5 for 18. Runners moved up: J.Martinez.

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Ventura

4

10

3

3

2

6

85

4.40

Moylan

1

0

0

0

0

1

17

3.53

Strahm

 2/3

1

1

1

2

1

35

1.37

McCarthy

 1/3

1

0

0

0

1

7

6.00

Soria

1

1

0

0

0

1

12

4.06

Davis W, 2-1

1

1

0

0

0

0

17

2.06

Herrera S, 12-15

1

0

0

0

0

0

10

2.21

Detroit

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Norris

5 2/3

6

2

2

2

6

100

3.59

A.Wilson H, 14

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

2

2.83

J.Wilson H, 25

1

0

0

0

0

0

11

4.13

Rondon H, 6

1

0

0

0

0

1

12

2.97

Rodriguez L, 3-4

 2/3

4

5

5

1

1

26

3.30

Hardy

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

6

3.91

Ventura pitched to 1 batter in the 5th.

Inherited runners-scored: Moylan 1-0, McCarthy 2-0, A.Wilson 1-0. IBB: off Ventura (Cabrera). WP: Davis. PB: Perez (5).

Umpires: Home, Bob Davidson; First, Dan Iassogna; Second, Lance Barrett; Third, Laz Diaz. Time: 3:50. Att: 31,721.

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