DETROIT — Francisco Rodriguez’s rough ninth inning hurt the Detroit Tigers in the AL wild-card race.

Paulo Orlando hit a tying, two-run double and Eric Hosmer followed with a three-run homer against Rodriguez, capping a ninth-inning comeback Saturday that led the Royals over the Tigers 7-4.

Detroit’s five-game winning streak was stopped, and the Tigers dropped a half-game behind Baltimore for the second AL wild card berth.

“It’s a bad position to fail the way that I failed,” Rodriguez said. “Just unacceptable. This one hurts, big time. I let my team down.”

Given a 4-2 lead, Rodriguez (3-4) allowed singles to Alex Gordon and Hunter Dozier before Orlando’s double. Cheslor Cuthbert walked and Hosmer hit his 24th homer.

“We’ve got eight games left. This is going to be a dogfight,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “We lost this one, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come back tomorrow and win.”

Ausmus did not consider replacing Rodriguez after Orlando’s double. Rodriguez blew a save for the fifth time in 49 opportunities.

“Frankie had an off day,” Ausmus said. “You’re going to have an off day from time to time. We wouldn’t be here without him.”

Kansas City stopped a four-game losing streak, and its tragic number for elimination from postseason contention remained at three. The Royals would be the fourth straight World Series champion failing to reach the playoffs after winning a title the previous season.

“We want to finish strong, no matter where we are in the standings” said Hosmer, who was hitless in four at-bats, including three strikeouts, before the home run. “We have to be professional about what we’re doing and continue to play it through.”

Wade Davis (2-1) pitched a one-hit eighth and Kelvin Herrera, Kansas City’s seventh pitcher, got three straight outs for his 12th save in 15 chances, ending a game that took 3 hours, 50 minutes.

Royals starter Yordano Ventura, 7-0 against Detroit in his career, allowed three runs and 10 hits in four innings, then left with back tightness. Kansas City said he is day to day.

Tigers starter Daniel Norris, who stood to gain his first career victory over the Royals, gave up two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Alcides Escobar hit a sacrifice fly in the second, but the Tigers went ahead 3-1 on third-inning RBI singles by Cameron Maybin and J.D. Martinez, and Maybin’s RBI single in the fourth.

Kendrys Morales homered leading off the sixth, becoming Kansas City’s first player to reach 30 since Jermaine Dye hit 33 in 2000. Martinez’s RBI single gave Detroit a 4-2 lead in the sixth.

“Give them credit for coming back against one of the best closers in the American League,” Ausmus said.


Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera drew an intentional walk in the fourth inning, his 14th of the season. He is tied for the most intentional walks in the AL with Boston’s David Ortiz.


Saturday’s game was the longest nine-inning contest of the season for Detroit, which played a 3:47 game at the Chicago White Sox on June 14.


Royals: C Salvador Perez started after missing Friday night’s game with a minor knee issue. He went 1 for 5 with a single.

Tigers: SS Jose Iglesias and Cabrera started after sustaining minor hand injuries Friday.


RHP Edinson Volquez (10-11) is to start Sunday’s series finale for the Royals and LHP Matt Boyd (6-4) for the Tigers