Detroit — Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost’s hunch paid off.
Willie Bloomquist’s one-out home run in the 12th inning gave the Kansas City Royals a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
Yost inserted Bloomqust, a veteran utility man, into the third spot in the Royals order in an attempt to spark the team’s offense, which had only managed seven runs in the previous three games.
Yost guaranteed reporters before the game that Bloomquist would get “a couple of hits”.
The game-winning homer, which came on a 3-2 pitch from loser Alfredo Figaro (0-1), made Bloomquist 2-for-6. It was the first time Bloomquist has batted third on his nine-season career.
“Crazy,” said Bloomquist as he nodded his head after the game. “Who knew?”
It was his third home run of the season and only the 13th of his career. But he knew it was gone when he hit it.
“I don’t hit too many, but I thought I got all of it,” Bloomquist said. “That’s probably as far as I can hit a ball.”
Bloomquist, who plays all three outfield and all four infield positions, was stationed at third on Wednesday and started a key double play on Gerald Laird’s grounder with one out and runners on first and second in the 11th.
Kansas City, which also got a homer and two RBIs from Kila Ka’aihue, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to snap Detroit’s five-game winning streak and avoided being swept in the three-game series.
Phillip Humber (1-0), who pitched three innings of scoreless relief, got the win for the Royals and Joakim Soria got his 36th save in 38 chances.