Tigers topple Royals with walkoff victory, regain division lead
David Price leaves with apparent ankle injury
DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers came back from a late one-run deficit Friday to beat the Kansas City Royals, 6-5, in walkoff fashion. David Price wasn't at his best, but the Tigers' offense jumped on MLB's best bullpen to steal the series opener and regain the top spot in the AL Central by 1/2 game.
Price came out throwing darts in the 1st inning. He threw 10 of 11 pitches for strikes to start the game and all 11 were fastballs. Kansas City put the first two runners on base with singles, but Price got a line out and a 5-4-3 double play to escape without a blemish.
Detroit answered with a pair of singles in the bottom half, but couldn't break through against Yordano Ventura.
At least, not in the 1st.
But in the 2nd inning, after a leadoff walk from J.D. Martinez, the Tigers scored four runs on five straight seeing-eye singles. Miguel Cabrera finally hit the ball hard with two on and no outs, but it turned into a line out double play to shortstop.
Third base coach Dave Clark took two huge chances with no outs in the frame, sending Nick Castellanos home on an Andrew Romine single and Romine on Ian Kinsler's base knock. The ball beat both runners to the plate, but a pair of nice slides kept the rally going long enough for Detroit to buildto the 4-0 lead.
But Kansas City came right back in the top of the 4th, plating four runs of their own off of Price. Salvador Perez got it started with a two run homer, and a Castellanos throwing error tied the game just moments later.
The game stayed 4-4 through the 6th until the Royals put together three straight two-out singles in the top of the 7th to take their first lead. On the third hit, Price tweaked his ankle stepping on a bat when he was backing up home plate, prompting Ausmus to pull him from the game.
The Royals ripped 13 hits off of Price over 6.1 innings. He finished with four earned runs and just one strikeout.
Alex Wilson relieved Price and induced a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the two on, one out jam.
Anthony Gose set the table for the Tigers in the bottom of the 7th, leading off with a single, stealing 2nd base and moving to 3rd on an overthrow.
After a Kinsler walk, Miguel Cabrera struck out to put the rally in jeopardy, but Victor Martinez hit into an RBI fielder's choice to knot it up at 5-5.
Though the 8th inning has been troublesome for the Tigers' bullpen at times this season, Angel Nesbitt got his chance Friday and retired the Royals in order.
J.D. Martinez led off the bottom of the 8th with a walk, despite falling behind 0-2 to start the at-bat. Rajai Davis pinch ran for him at first base and stole 2nd on a pitchout to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with one out.
But James McCann and Romine couldn't capitalize on the scoring chance, and teams entered the 9th all tied up.
After a scoreless top half from Joakim Soria, Gose led off the bottom of the 9th with a double down the right field line on the very first pitch. Kinsler laid down a perfect bunt to advance Gose to 3rd base, but Yohan Pino fired the ball down the right field line to bring the winning run home.
Gose finished the game 3-4 with a double, a walk and two crucial runs scored. Ian Kinsler reached base five times, going 4-4 with a double and a walk.
Game 2 of the series will come on Saturday afternoon, with Anibal Sanchez battling Jeremy Guthrie.
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