DETROIT (AP) — Robbie Grossman singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Detroit Tigers, after squandering a late seven-run lead, recovered to beat the skidding Kansas City Royals 8-7 on Tuesday night.
Grossman had five RBIs for the first time in his career, sending the Royals to their ninth straight loss. He ripped a two-out single off Scott Barlow (1-1) in the ninth to score Niko Goodrum.
“The heater’s going to show up at some point, I had it in the back of my mind,” Grossman said. “It showed up, and I put a decent enough swing on it to put it through.
“I’m just glad that we won this ballgame because we played good enough to win.”
The dramatic victory masked a horrendous collapse for the major league-worst Tigers, who led 7-0 with two outs in the eighth. But then Jorge Soler homered and drove in six runs over the final two innings as Kansas City rallied to spoil a great start by Matthew Boyd.
The left-hander pitched six shutout innings for Detroit, striking out five and walking two. The outing brought his ERA down to 1.94 after he exited his previous start April 29 with a left knee injury.
“He wasn’t as sharp as he’s been and yet he still threw scoreless innings,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “His effort was tremendous. He didn’t execute perfectly, but he mixed his pitches well and executed when he needed to.”
The meltdown began for the Tigers in the eighth when struggling former closer Joe Jimenez walked two batters with a seven-run lead to set up Soler’s three-run homer.
That seemed harmless enough until the ninth, when Ryan O’Hearn hit an RBI single.
Two batters later, Goodrum committed an error at shortstop on what would have been a game-ending grounder. Soler, who entered batting below .200, then drove a ball to deep center field that Akil Baddoo nearly snatched to end the game.
Instead, it went for a three-run double that tied it at 7.
“He’s the hitter that we know he is,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said about Soler. “He’s an impressive talent. I just can’t believe that ball didn’t get out.”
Goodrum was hit by a pitch to open the bottom of the ninth and Baddoo walked, reaching base for the fifth time. Grossman pulled a 1-2 fastball through the infield to win it.
Gregory Soto (3-1) got one out after Jose Cisnero allowed three runs in the top of the ninth.
The Tigers scored six or more runs for the fifth time in six games after going 17 straight games with five or fewer.
Kansas City right-hander Brady Singer, ejected from his last start, could not continue his dominance of the Tigers.
After going 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his first four career starts against Detroit, Singer did not get out of the fourth. The Tigers scored four runs in the inning after the first five batters reached base.
Willi Castro, Baddoo and Grayson Greiner drove in runs with consecutive bloop singles, then Grossman scored Baddoo with a sacrifice fly. Jonathan Schoop led off the inning with a triple to deep center field that Michael A. Taylor couldn’t cut off.
Grossman cleared the bases in the fifth with a three-run triple.
Andrew Benintendi (two hits) and Carlos Santana reached base three times apiece for Kansas City, which came to Detroit after an 0-7 homestand. The Royals were 16-9 on May 1 to lead the majors but are now two games below .500.
“They’ve got to know that if they keep playing like that, we’ll be right where we want to be,” Matheny said.
Royals: C Cam Gallagher (concussion) and reliever Kyle Zimmer (left trapezius strain) are both with the team for the seven-game road trip. They could be activated off the injured list this week.
Tigers: Greiner was removed in the fifth with left hamstring tightness. Hinch said the catcher will likely go on the injured list. … Hinch announced that prospect Franklin Perez will undergo right shoulder surgery, missing another season. Perez was a centerpiece of the Justin Verlander trade to Houston in 2017, but has struggled with injuries since he was acquired. … 3B Jeimer Candelario was pulled from the lineup because of an illness following his second COVID-19 vaccine shot.
After being designated for assignment Friday by the Tigers, reliever Buck Farmer cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Toledo.
RHP Casey Mize (1-3), the 2018 first overall draft pick, will pitch for Detroit against LHP Danny Duffy (4-2) on Wednesday.
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