KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There was no easing Wade Davis back into the Kansas City Royals’ closer+ role.
Davis gave up a go-ahead two-run single in the ninth inning to Miguel Cabrera, and the Kansas City Royals lost 7-6 to the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
Davis had not pitched in the majors since July 22 because of a right flexor strain. He pitched three scoreless innings over three games on a rehab assignment before being reinstated from the disabled list earlier in the day.
In his return, Davis was asked to safeguard a one-run lead after Paulo Orlando’s two-run, two-out single in the eighth put the Royals ahead 6-5.
“Wade said (before the game), ‘I’m ready to close,'” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You look at his rehab and he threw the ball well there. He was ready. It wasn’t like he spent three weeks on the DL and didn’t do his rehab stuff. He did all his rehab stuff, threw the ball well and was ready to go.”
Davis’s first pitch hit Ian Kinsler, who stopped at third on Jose Iglesias’ single before Cabrera — who homered among his three hits and had four RBIs — drove them both in.
World Series champion Kansas City has three consecutive one-run losses after winning 18 of its previous 22 games.
Cabrera hit a 439-foot shot, his 29th homer, off Peter Moylan in the seventh, and also had an RBI single in Detroit’s three-run third. Justin Upton homered in the second and added an RBI single in the third.
Francisco Rodriguez (3-3) picked up the victory, despite blowing a save in the eighth on Orlando’s single.
Orlando thought the Royals were going to win after his big hit.
“Oh yeah, late in the game and you take the lead for the first time, but you play nine innings,” Orlando said. “Today was not to be.”
Orlando, who snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the seventh, punched a single off Rodriguez to right, scoring Alcides Escobar and Jarrod Dyson.
“Obviously we’re happy we came out on the winning side, but what a great game to watch, just as a fan of baseball, with the back and forth, both teams scoring off of closers,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “It was good entertainment.”
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez gave up three unearned runs and five hits over five innings.
Cabrera’s fielding error opened the door for the Royals to score three runs in the third. Alex Gordon had a two-run single, while Kendrys Morales contributed a run-scoring single.
Danny Duffy allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings and has allowed 18 hits and 11 runs over 10 2/3 innings in consecutive starts.
“I felt like I battled,” Duffy said. “We had a rough third inning there. They were kind of singling me to death. I did my best to try to keep my team in the game. It’s kind of been a rough couple of games for us.”
Tigers left-hander Justin Wilson gave up a run on three singles to Orlando, Cheslor Cuthbert and Eric Hosmer in the seventh, the only three batters he faced.
ROYALS PROMOTE FOUR
The Royals purchased the contract of INF Hunter Dozier, a 2013 first-round pick who hit 23 HRs with 75 RBIs this season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. They also recalled C Tony Cruz, IF-OF Whit Merrifield and OF Terrance Gore.
Erick Aybar started at third base for the Tigers. It was only his second career game there, with the other on May 30, 2007, while with the Angels against the Mariners. He did not have an assist or putout against the Royals.
Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (left thumb contusion) has not played since Monday. … 3B Nick Castellanos (fractured fifth metacarpal of his left swing) took about 25 swings with a fungo off a tee. “He felt it a little bit today, swinging,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “It buzzed him every once in a while, which is normal.”
Royals: OF Lorenzo Cain has not played since Tuesday because of a sore left wrist. … LHP Jason Vargas, who is rehabbing from 2015 elbow surgery, struck out 10 and walked none, while allowing two runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings in a Thursday start for Triple-A Omaha against Round Rock.
Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer is 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA in two appearances against the Royals.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura is 6-0 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 games against the Tigers.