DETROIT — Robbie Grossman seemingly had the Tigers on their way to victory with a three-run triple for a seven-run lead. Turns out Detroit needed one more big hit from him. His walk-off single in the ninth inning nullified a Royals comeback and sent the Tigers to an 8-7 victory Tuesday night at Comerica Park.
The Tigers entered the eighth inning with a 7-0 lead after roughing up Brady Singer for a four-run fourth and tacking on Grossman’s bases-clearing triple off Jake Brentz in the fifth. Matthew Boyd’s six scoreless innings put Detroit in position for a much-needed victory.
Statcast pegged the Tigers’ win probability at 99.7 percent with two outs in the eighth, despite a pair of walks from former closer Joe Jiménez. Once Jorge Soler pounced on a hanging slider and sent it 410 feet to left-center for a three-run home run, though, the Royals’ rally was on.
Soler was back at the plate an inning later as the potential go-ahead run while the Royals chipped away at José Cisnero for three hits. Cisnero seemingly ended the threat with a ground ball to short, but Niko Goodrum bobbled the ball for an error that extended the game for Soler. He hit an even longer drive than his homer, a 422-foot shot to center that Akil Baddoo nearly caught at the wall but couldn’t hang onto.
Those few feet keeping the ball in turned out to be a difference. Gregory Soto entered to strand Soler on second base before a Goodrum hit-by-pitch and Baddoo walk started the Tigers’ rally in the bottom of the ninth.
Royals reliever Scott Barlow struck out two and nearly sent the game to extra innings, but Grossman hit a 1-2 fastball for a ground ball just inside first base and down the right-field line as Goodrum scored.