KANSAS CITY -- Alex Gordon drove in Brandon Moss with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth off Tigers closer Justin Wilson as the Royals rallied for a wild 4-3 victory on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Gordon thought his fly ball to medium center likely was deep enough.
"I knew it would probably be close," Gordon said. "... we just kept fighting. Mossy had a great game." Moss, who had homered earlier in the game, doubled in Alcides Escobar with one out, tying the game at 3. Moss took third on the throw home.
"This is really nice to talk to you guys about other things than [stinking]," said Moss, who is hitting .200. "... I just want to contribute. I'm not looking to go out and have my best year ever. I'm not looking to go out here and hit .300 or hit 40 home runs, I just want to contribute. I want to be a part of this team."
• Moss basks in limelight after big night
Michael Mahtook drilled a two-run home run off Royals closer Kelvin Herrera with one out in top of the ninth, giving the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Herrera left the game one pitch later with trainer Nick Kenney. Royals manager Ned Yost said Herrera simply was feeling the effects of having a 102-degree fever the night before, and added that he would be fine.
The Royals, who had lost seven of eight games coming in, pulled within two games of first-place Cleveland in the American League Central. The Tigers' winning streak ended at four, tying their season high.
• Wilson has rare blown save in wild ninth
"Give them credit," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "They fought back. But, overall, there were a lot of good things that happened for us, despite the fact that we lost the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Picked off: The Royals had something brewing in a 1-1 game off Tigers starter Justin Verlander in the bottom of the sixth. Whit Merrifield singled, and after a fielder's choice by Jorge Bonifacio, Lorenzo Cain walked (his 37th, tying a career-high). But Eric Hosmer lined out to the warning track in left, and then Verlander turned and picked off Bonifacio at second base, ending the threat. It was Verlander's first pickoff this season.
"That's something that Ver puts on with the middle infielders at times," Ausmus said. "He's pretty good at it. He sells it."
Ill-advised dive: The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Salvador Perez sent a sinking liner to left field. Tigers left fielder Justin Upton raced in and over, and launched a fully extended dive, but missed. The ball rolled to the fence and Perez chugged into third with his first triple since May 23, 2016. Mike Moustakas then went after a 3-0 fastball from Verlander and singled Perez in.
"I saw a guy trying to make a play on a ball, all-out effort, sacrifice his body," Ausmus said. "Sometimes it happens and it gets by a guy, but he certainly had a shot at catching it."
"When [the Tigers] came back to go ahead, there was all kinds of fire in our dugout. We felt really good about going and seeing if we couldn't tie it up or walk it off." -- Royals manager Ned Yost
"We're five games out. Five games can happen really quickly in this sport. We just have to continue to play hard and get ready to win games, see where it takes you." -- Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler
Royals right-hander Jason Hammel gave up four hits and one run over 6 1/3 innings, his longest outing since June 19, when he went seven innings.
Verlander went seven innings and gave up six hits and two runs with eight strikeouts. Until the Tigers' ninth-inning rally, he was on track to lose four consecutive starts for the first time since 2008.
"I thought Justin was outstanding tonight," Ausmus said. "I thought it was one of his best outings of the year."
Tigers:Michael Fulmer (10-6, 3.06 ERA) starts Thursday's series finale after falling an out shy of a complete-game victory against the Royals on June 29 at Comerica Park. He has won his last four starts, beginning with that one. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.
Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy (5-6, 3.51 ERA) takes the mound for the final game of the Tigers series on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. CT at Kauffman Stadium. Duffy was outstanding in his last outing, giving up five hits and one run over 8 1/3 innings in a 1-0 loss to Texas on Saturday.
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