DETROIT -- The Tigers have seen more Royals rallies than they care to remember over the last few seasons. When Salvador Perez's sixth-inning fly ball carried over Steven Moya's head and dropped in front of the right-field wall for a game-tying RBI double, followed by a go-ahead run scoring on
DETROIT -- The Tigers have seen more Royals rallies than they care to remember over the last few seasons. When Salvador Perez's sixth-inning fly ball carried over Steven Moya's head and dropped in front of the right-field wall for a game-tying RBI double, followed by a go-ahead run scoring on second baseman Ian Kinsler's throwing error, it felt like another round of Royals magic.
The Tigers, however, had some rally left in them, and maybe a little luck of their own.
"Just stringing hits, walks, whatever it may be, trying to make a play," said Kinsler, whose bunt single was part of the Tigers' three-run seventh inning in Friday's 4-2 win at Comerica Park, earning Detroit a critical win over its division rival.
Justin Verlander kept Detroit's deficit at a run after Perez's double, retiring his final six batters. At 110 pitches, Verlander was done at seven innings, but he had a 2-1 deficit as the bottom third of the Tigers' lineup faced Luke Hochevar.
That included Tyler Collins, recalled with Justin Upton on the bereavement list. Playing his first game since his gesture in center field April 25, Collins popped out twice against Ian Kennedy. After taking a couple curveballs from Hochevar, he shrugged off a cutter outside the zone before getting one he could drive 406 feet for a home run, according to Statcast™.
"I think I said that the quickest way to get people to forget about what happened here [in April] was to hit a big home run," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "so that's a good start."
Said Collins: "It was good to get the win. That's all that matters. It was nice to help. ... It was a nice little jump-start."
It was also the only extra-base hit of the rally. For that matter, it was the lone line drive. José Iglesias' ensuing single was a bouncer through the middle.
As Kinsler stepped to the plate, the dramatic play would've been a drive to rival his leadoff homer six innings earlier. But as Kinsler -- 2-for-21 lifetime off Hochevar -- looked out to third base and saw Cheslor Cuthbert playing him deep, he thought bunt.
"He was giving it to me," Kinsler said of his single.
On came former Tiger Joakim Soria, making his first appearance at Comerica Park since last July 23, the week before Detroit traded him to Pittsburgh at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. And after Soria walked Cameron Maybin on five pitches, on came Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded.
Soria threw him six fastballs around the knees. The first three missed low, putting him a pitch away from walking in the go-ahead run. The 3-0 pitch caught the zone for a strike, then Soria sent Cabrera down swinging at the next two.
Once Soria put Victor Martinez in an 0-2 hole with 96-mph fastballs, he was a pitch away from escaping the jam. But like Martinez's ensuing comebacker, it eluded his grasp.
"That's a play I make 95 percent of the time," Soria said.
It's also a play Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield told reporters he probably would've made without the deflection. Instead, the redirected ball found open territory with the infield shifted. Not only did Iglesias score, but Kinsler never stopped around third, adding an insurance run.
"Every win is important," Iglesias said, "but especially a game like this. You come together as a group to win like this."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.