Sure, it looked like so many other games the the Tigers' pitching staff couldn't hold onto the lead the batters staked them to. But this time the result was different, and a lot more fun. After blowing a three-run lead, the Tigers walked off with an 8-6 victory -- and series win -- over the Royals Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Anibal Sanchez started the game shaky. In the second inning he allowed five straight Royal hitters reached base; Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales singled then back-to-back walks by Mike Moustakas and Alex Rios, the second walk forcing in a run. Former Tiger Omar Infante singled in two more runs as the Royals took a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers roared back in the third inning with back-to-back walks by Alex Avila and Andrew Romine and a single by Jose Iglesias to load the bases. Ian Kinsler reached base on a fielder's choice as Avila scored the first run for the Tigers. Victor Martinez capped off the inning with a three-run home run and the Tigers took a 4-3 lead.
Victor Martinez wasn't done as he added another home run in the fifth inning, this one a two-run shot to make it 6-3 in favor of the Tigers.
Meanwhile, Sanchez settled in and set down 13 Royals in a row before loading up the bases in the sixth inning with a walk, a single and another walk. Sanchez escaped the jam by inducing a pop-up to third base. Sanchez came back out to start the seventh inning and gave up a home run to the number nine hitter Drew Butera to make it a 6-4 game. Sanchez' night was done with a line of six innings pitched, five hits, four runs, six strikeouts and four walks.
And then the bullpen. Neftali Feliz replaced Sanchez and allowed a single to Alcides Escobar and a walk to Ben Zobrist. Lorenso Cain then popped up back to the pitcher and Zobrist was doubled off first. Blaine Hardy was then brought in to face the lefty-hitting Hosmer and the switch hitter Morales. The usually effective Hardy walked Hosmer and Morales doubled in two runs to tie the game at 6 apiece.
The next exciting play came in the Tigers' half of the eighth inning, as pinch runner Rajai Davis reached third base on a stolen base and an error. The Tigers tried to employ the rally squirrel tactic, but to no avail.
Go-ahead run, like the squirrel, proves elusive for Tigers. 6-6 heading to 9th as Alex Wilson enters.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 6, 2015
Kansas City threatened in the ninth off of Wilson by loading the bases with a single and two walks, however he escaped without allowing a run to score.
Then in the bottom the ninth inning Kinsler continued with his torrid second half pace and gave the Tigers the victory with a walk-off home run to left field.
Ian Kinsler: 2 hits, 3 RBI and three runs scored. Avoided the double play twice to set up both of V-Mart's home runs and was the hero with the walk-off home run.
Victor Martinez: Had five of the Tigers' RBI's with a three-run home run and a two-run home run.
Alex Avila: On base three times with two hits and a walk and a run scored.
Anthony Gose: Also on base 3 times with two hits and a walk.
Blaine Hardy: Allowed two runs to score (one charged to Feliz) and charged with a blown save.
Nick Castellanos: 0-4 and the only Tiger starter not to reach base.
STREAKS AND STATS:
Ian Kinsler has reached base safely in seven consecutive games and is batting .517 during that span.
Jose Iglesias is batting .314 in the eight games since moving the the second spot in the batting order.
This was the first multi-homer game for Victor Martinez since September 17, 2010 as a member of the Red Sox. 543 games between multi-homer games.
Alex Avila breaks an 0-12 slump with a double in the sixth inning.
Anibal Sanchez has given up a home run in four straight starts and a career high 24 on the season.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: