This Justin: Tigers tie O's for 2nd WC spot

This Justin: Tigers tie O's for 2nd WC spot

KANSAS CITY -- The Tigers showed a little late-inning magic of their own.

After the Royals rallied for four runs in the seventh inning to grab a 5-4 lead, Tigers left fielder Justin Upton belted a two-run homer to right-center in the eighth off right-hander Joakim Soria to spark a huge 6-5 win on Sunday afternoon.

Soria now has blown five saves to go with seven losses.

"We needed to respond right there," said Upton, who hit his 20th home run of the season. "We had some good at-bats early in the game and didn't come through, but we came through on that one."

Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez got a scare in the ninth when Alcides Escobar doubled to lead off, and Jarrod Dyson nearly hit a two-run walk-off homer. It was ruled foul, and an umpire's review confirmed it.

Dyson's foul ball confirmed

"I saw the whole dugout get out to see if it was fair," Royals left fielder Alex Gordon said.

Dyson moved Escobar to third with a groundout. Alex Gordon grounded to second baseman Ian Kinsler and was thrown out as Escobar held. Paulo Orlando then was out on a hard grounder to third.

"The luck just hasn't gone our way lately," first baseman Eric Hosmer said.

"That's baseball," Gordon added. "The next time, you win on a bloop hit."

Rodriguez got his 424th career save, tying him for fourth all-time with John Franco.

K-Rod notches the save

The Tigers pulled back into a tie with the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. The Royals remained four games back.

"We could easily have gone 6-0 on this homestand," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Just four really tough losses and had a chance to win all of them."

Yost on 6-5 loss to Tigers

Right-hander Edinson Volquez had somewhat of a bounceback outing after a poor August (6.37 ERA) and held the Tigers to two runs through six, but gave up two more in the seventh. He finished at 6 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits while walking one and striking out five.

Left-hander Daniel Norris was solid for the Tigers, giving up three runs and four hits through six, while striking out seven.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Just Delivering: J.D. Martinez had been just 1-for-15 for his career off Volquez, but he had him figured out Sunday. After a second-inning single and run scored, Martinez drilled a 2-2 pitch off the railing in front of the fountains in left, a fourth-inning solo homer that could be heard all the way from the press box.

Statcast: J.D. Martinez's homer

Escobar muscles up: Escobar homered for the second time in a week as he powered one over the left-center-field fence. Escobar tied his career high in homers for a season with five -- he also hit five in 2012. Escobar also extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

Escobar's solo home run

Upton strikes again: Upton arrived in Detroit with the reputation of being able to carry a team when he's hot at the plate, but rarely had that applied this season like Sunday. After driving in Detroit's first run with a line drive off the wall in right-center, his two-run homer off Soria's fastball put the Tigers back on top. It marked his seventh home run in the past two weeks. Three of his past four have either tied the game or pulled Detroit ahead in the sixth inning or later.

Upton's RBI double

"Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the hitter," Soria said. "It was a really good pitch that he was able to hit it out of the ballpark, and to center field. That's tough to do. But he had the strength." More >

The big seventh: The Royals grabbed the lead in the seventh with their typical keep-the-line-moving approach. A walk, single and another walk loaded the bases. Whit Merrifield delivered a sacrifice fly, and then Dyson tripled down the right-field line, tying the game, 4-4. Dyson went home to third in 10.762 seconds, his fastest triple of the year (he has six). Orlando's RBI double capped the rally to give the Royals a temporary lead.

Dyson's two-run triple

Kinsler's key knockdown helps fizzle threat

QUOTABLE
"This is fun. To play for something, this is fun. Trying to play for a spot in the playoffs, it's exciting. You need to come every day and play hard." -- Miguel Cabrera

WHAT'S NEXT
Tigers: Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.30 ERA) gets a rematch opposite Chris Sale on Monday as the Tigers visit the White Sox to open a three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET.

Royals: The Royals open a six-game road trip through Minnesota and Chicago on Monday. Right-hander Ian Kennedy (9-9, 3.66 ERA) gets the start Monday against the Twins at 1:10 p.m. CT.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.