By Dave Hart
Tigers 4, Royals 2 – Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s walk-off two-run homer paced the Tigers to a series clinching win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.
Kansas City opened the scoring with an RBI double from Cheslor Cuthbert in the second inning and an RBI single by Eric Hosmer in the third to take a 2-0 advantage.
Detroit cut its deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of third inning on a balk by Royals’ pitcher Yordano Ventura that scored Tiger shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Detroit’s starting pitcher Michael Fulmer took a no-decision despite pitching strong. He allowed two runs on six hits while striking out five batters in eight innings.
Tigers’ closer Francisco Rodriguez tossed his first victory of the season after pitching a hitless ninth inning.
Castellanos paced Detroit offensively with two doubles and a triple, while Ian Kinsler, Cameron Maybin and Iglesias each chipped in with two hits apiece.
The Tigers now 48-44 on the season, good for second place in the American League Central Division behind the first-place Cleveland Indians. They are two and a half games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the final playoff spot.
Detroit will open a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at home starting Monday night.
Tied for 2nd Place in AL Central Division (6.5 games behind first-place Cleveland)
2.5 games behind Toronto for last Wild Card spot
Magic # to clinch a playoff spot: 73
Magic # to clinch an AL Central Division title: 78
Next Game: 07/18/2016 vs Minnesota Twins 7:10 p.m. @ Comerica Park
Hitting stats: Jarrod Saltalamacchia HR (9) 2 RBI (27), Nick Castellanos 2 2B (21) 3B (4), Justin Upton SB (6).
Pitching stats: Francisco Rodriguez W (1-0) 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 1 K, Michael Fulmer 8 IP 6 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 5 K.