The Royals overcame an early 4-0 deficit and scored three runs in the top of the 11th to pick up a 9-6 win over Detroit at Tiger Stadium.
Playing their home opener, Detroit jumped out to a big early lead. They scored four runs in the first off Royals starter Paul Splittorff. The Tigers collected five hits before Marty Pattin was summoned from the bullpen to get the last out of the inning.
Detroit starter Dave Rozema pitched four perfect innings before the Royals rallied in the fifth. Willie Aikens started the inning with a single. With one out, Pete LaCock singled. Clint Hurdle singled for one run and Jamie Quirk hit a sacrifice fly for another. U.L. Washington doubled to score Hurdle and end Rozema’s outing. Willie Wilson greeted reliever John Hiller with a single, tying the game at 4-4.
Pattin was an unsung hero for the Royals, pitching five scoreless innings in relief. He finally tired in the sixth. Jason Thompson led off with a single, but was caught stealing while Champ Summers struck out. That became a big play when Tom Brookens singled. Reliever Gary Christenson preserved the tie with a strikeout to end the inning.
But after Christenson worked around a walk in the seventh, he could not escape the eighth unscathed. After two singles and a walk, Alan Trammell singled with two outs, scoring two runs and giving Detroit a 6-4 lead.
Again, the Royals rallied. Down to their last three outs, Kansas City tied the score in the ninth. LaCock led off with a walk, and with one out, singles by John Wathan and Washington loaded the bases. Wilson singled for one run. Frank White hit a soft grounder to third, and the Tigers could only get a force out at second as Wathan scored to tie the game.
The Royals then came up with those three runs in the 11th. Wilson led off with a triple, his fourth hit of the game. After White struck out and the Tigers intentionally walked George Brett, Aikens hit a sacrifice fly for the lead. A Hal McRae double and LaCock single added two more runs.
Dan Quisenberry, who had pitched two scoreless innings already, finished off the game with another zero as he worked around a leadoff single. That sent the Tigers to their seventh straight loss since they defeated Kansas City on Opening Day.
George Brett watch: 0-5 with a walk and a run scored. Season stats: .233/.324/.433
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET198004180.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Jim Eisenreich (1959), Dennis Rasmussen (1959), Billy Butler (1986)