DETROIT — That good fortune the Royals have been begging for finally showed up in the nightcap of a doubleheader with the Tigers on Friday night.
Trailing by one run entering the ninth, the Royals got a bloop RBI single by Abraham Almonte to tie it, then took the lead when Tigers first baseman Niko Goodrum botched a routine grounder by Jon Jay, and overthrew the pitcher covering the bag, allowing Alcides Escobar to score in a 3-2 win that snapped a nine-game losing streak. JaCoby Jones hit a walk-off homer in Game 1 to hand Kansas City a 3-2 loss in 10 innings.
Ryan Goins and Escobar singled with one out before Almonte fought off several pitches by Tigers closer Shane Greene before sending a soft flare into right for a single. Goins made a terrific read, going almost on contact, and scored easily.
“He threw me a lot of sliders,” Almonte said. “First ones I didn’t recognize very good. Then, I had a chance to finally see it. It’s a good feeling. We’ve been working together and looking for a win. It’s good.”
“The thing that impresses me is that as much as we’ve been struggling, they keep battling,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We’re trying to get something to happen. Almonte fought off some good pitches and got it in play.”
Was it time for some good fortune?
“It all kind of evens out,” Yost said. “Except we haven’t been getting our fair share of bloopers lately.”
Royals starter Jakob Junis went eight strong innings and gave up four hits and two runs while striking out four. Kelvin Herrera worked the ninth and recorded his third save.
“This was huge,” Junis said. “After the first game, losing like that, and [then] winning like this the second game … we needed it. We needed it really bad.”
Before their good fortune in the ninth, the Royals encountered some more back luck in the seventh in a 1-1 tie. Escobar led off with a walk, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Drew Butera moved Escobar to third with some solid situational hitting, lofting a flyout to deep right-center. But with the infield in, Jay struck out, swinging at three pitches out of the zone. Whit Merrifield then popped out.
“That had been kind of the difference in the game,” Yost said. “They had been putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position and we hadn’t.”