By Dave Hart
Tigers 6, Royals 5 – Justin Upton’s eighth inning two-run homer propelled the Tigers over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.
Detroit opened the scoring with a run in the second inning before the Royals tied the game 1-1 in the third.
The Tigers quickly regained their lead in the fourth on a solo home run from J.D. Martinez, then added two runs in the seventh inning to take a 4-1 advantage.
Kansas City responded in the bottom of the seventh, scoring four runs to take a 5-4 lead.
Tigers’ closer Francisco Rodriguez, who picked up his 38th save of the season, allowed a leadoff double in the ninth but stranded him at third base.
Detroit was led by Ian Kinsler with three hits and an RBI while Upton doubled, homered and knocked in three runs.
Daniel Norris tossed a no-decision for the Tigers, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out seven batters in six innings.
Tigers’ relief pitcher Shane Greene picked up the win by pitching 1 1/3 hitless innings.
The Tigers are now 74-62 on the season, good for second place in the American League Central Division behind the Cleveland Indians. They are tied with the Baltimore Orioles for the final playoff spot.
Detroit will continue its road trip on Monday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox.
2nd Place in AL Central Division (5 games behind first-place Cleveland)
Tied with Baltimore for the last playoff spot
Magic # to clinch a playoff spot: 27
Magic # to clinch an AL Central Division title: 33
Next Game: 09/05/2016 @ Chicago White Sox 4:10 p.m. @ US Cellular Field
Hitting stats: Justin Upton 2B (24) HR (20) 3 RBI (64), J.D. Martinez HR (20) RBI (56), Andrew Romine 2B (3) RBI (13) SB (7), Ian Kinsler RBI (72), Tyler Collins 2B (2).
Pitching stats: Shane Greene W (3-3) 1.1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 1 BB 1 K, Francisco Rodriguez SV (38) 1 IP 1 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 0 K, Daniel Norris 6 IP 4 H 3 R 3 ER 1 BB 7 K.