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Published: Thursday, 9/22/2011

Late rally lifts Tigers to victory over Royals

Santiago gives Detroit lead; Kelly adds HR

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Detroit's Don Kelly hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning last night against Kansas City. Detroit's Don Kelly hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning last night against Kansas City.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ramon Santiago drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Don Kelly added a two-run homer and the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 last night.

Victor Martinez added three RBIs for Detroit. Doug Fister (10-13) yielded two hits over three shutout innings of relief, and Jose Valverde pitched the ninth to remain perfect in 47 save chances.

The Tigers trailed 3-2 in the seventh when Martinez delivered a two-out RBI single off Royals reliever Aaron Crow. The game remained tied until the eighth, when reliever Kelvin Herrera (0-1) made his big league debut and promptly plunked Ryan Raburn, the first Detroit batter he faced.

Santiago came through with his double moments later to give the Tigers the lead, and Kelly added his two-run homer with two outs in the inning to give their bullpen some breathing room.

The late rally by the AL Central champs spoiled the Royals' chance to finish with a winning record at home for the first time since 2000. Instead, Kansas City heads out for a season-ending six-game road trip with a 40-41 mark at Kauffman Stadium.

Detroit struck first when Felipe Paulino walked Austin Jackson to lead off the game. The speedy Tigers outfielder stole second base easily and then scored on Martinez's single.

Kansas City answered in the bottom half of the first with RBI doubles by Billy Butler and Jeff Francoeur. Butler's double was his 40th of the season, making Kansas City only the fourth franchise in major league history with four players with that many doubles. The other teams to accomplish the feat were the 2006 Rangers, the '32 Phillies and the '29 Tigers.

Martinez tied the game with an RBI groundout in the fifth.

The Royals pulled back ahead in the sixth when Melky Cabrera led off with a double. Butler singled to right field moments later, and Raburn -- who had entered the game as a pinch hitter in the top of the inning -- couldn't get a handle on the ball. His error allowed Cabrera to scamper home.

Everything unraveled for the Royals when Herrera entered the game in the eighth inning, and the Tigers capitalized on his mistakes to win for the 25th time in their last 32 games.

They head home having won 27 of their last 40 games away from Comerica Park.

Tigers starter Max Scherzer and Royals starter Felipe Paulino each allowed two runs over five innings.



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