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Tigers 4, Royals 2: Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s walk-off home run delivers series win

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Saltalamacchia and Michael Fulmer combined to give the Tigers a much-needed 4-2 win on Sunday.

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Jarrod Saltalamacchia launched a massive two-run home run into the right field bleachers off former Tigers closer Joakim Soria to deliver a huge walk-off win over the Royals on Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Michael Fulmer blew the Royals away on just seven pitches in the first inning, and looked well on his way to doing so again in the second. However, Paolo Orlando reached base on a two-out bunt single, and Christian Colon doubled over Tyler Collins’ head in right field to put the Royals up 1-0. They added to their lead in the third when Eric Hosmer singled home Jarrod Dyson. Kendrys Morales added another single to put runners at the corner with one out, but Fulmer struck out Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon to keep the score at 2-0.

The Tigers were fortunate to add a run in the bottom of the third. They loaded the bases with one out and Miguel Cabrera coming up to bat, but Cabrera struck out looking on five pitches. Royals starter Yordano Ventura balked when pitching to Victor Martinez, scoring Jose Iglesias to cut the lead in half. The call seemed iffy — I’m not sure I saw a balk there — but I won’t argue. Ventura struck out Martinez with runners on second and third to end the threat.

Neither team threatened much throughout the afternoon, but the Tigers were able to cobble together a two-out rally in the sixth. Nick Castellanos hit a liner into the right-center gap, and reached third base after Orlando bobbled the ball in the outfield. Castellanos then scored when Ventura uncorked a wild pitch past his catcher, tying the score at two. The Tigers threatened to take the lead in the seventh inning, but Cameron Maybin hit into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning.

After the Tigers stranded Castellanos on base again in the eighth, they wasted no time delivering a walk-off win in the ninth. Tyler Collins singled on Joakim Soria’s second pitch, and Saltalamacchia hit a mammoth two-run homer just two pitches later.

ROARS:

Michael Fulmer: Just look at that line. 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO. Another afternoon of pure dominance from the Tigers’ promising rookie.

Nick Castellanos: He single-handedly started the Tigers’ rally in the sixth, hitting a triple to right-center (with a bit of help from the Royals’ defense). Castellanos also added two doubles

Jose Iglesias: The Tigers’ shortstop is quietly having a nice season, hitting above .300 with an on-base percentage north of .370 since June 1. Iglesias had two more hits and scored a run in this game.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: I don’t think that ball has landed yet.

HISSES:

Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez: The Tigers’ two biggest bats have looked lost at the plate lately. They went a combined 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in this game.

Justin Upton’s bad luck: Upton hasn’t had a great season at the plate, but it seems like he has been unluckier than most when he does make solid contact. Upton hit the ball hard in his first three plate appearances, but came away with nothing to show for it. He went 0-for-4.

STATS AND INFO:

Cut him now.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:

Source: FanGraphs