Detroit Tigers' Ian Kinsler, right, celebrates hitting a walkoff-single with teammates Tyler Collins, left, and Nick Castellanos against the Kansas City Royals.
DETROIT — Ian Kinsler homered and drove in the winning run with a single in the 10th inning to lift the Detroit Tigers over the Kansas City Royals 2-1 on Wednesday.
Max Scherzer pitched eight scoreless innings for the Tigers, but Joe Nathan blew his first save chance since signing with Detroit in the offseason.
Acquired from Texas for Prince Fielder in a November blockbuster trade, Kinsler homered in the fourth and won the game with a line drive to left-center field off Tim Collins (0-1).
Detroit benefited from two replay overturns at first base. The second enabled Al Alburquerque (1-0) to get out of the top of the 10th.
The Tigers also beat Kansas City in their last at-bat in Monday’s opener, winning 4-3 on Alex Gonzalez’s RBI single in the ninth.
Scherzer allowed four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts, but Nathan blew a save at Comerica Park for the first time. He was 19 for 19 at the ballpark as a visiting player before signing with Detroit before this season.
Alex Gordon’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the ninth tied it, and Nathan then balked the runners ahead when he pulled up in the middle of his motion. Manager Brad Ausmus and trainer Kevin Rand came scurrying out to the mound to see if something was wrong, but Nathan kept pitching.
In the 10th, Kansas City’s Norichika Aoki was called safe at first, and it looked like the Royals would have first and third with two outs and the game tied. But upon further review, the throw barely beat Aoki. He was called out to end the threat.
There was another replay overturn in the sixth when Detroit’s Tyler Collins was initially called out at first, giving Kansas City a 4-6-3 double play. The play was reviewed and Collins was ruled safe, although Detroit didn’t score that inning.
In the Detroit 10th, Austin Jackson and Nick Castellanos both walked before Kinsler’s two-out hit won it.
Scherzer can become a free agent after this season, and if he keeps pitching like this he’ll be in line for quite a payday. With men on first and third and one out in the first, Billy Butler grounded into a double play on a 3-0 pitch.
That turned out to be the best chance Kansas City would have against Scherzer. He wasn’t in trouble again until the eighth, when Salvador Perez doubled leading off.
Scherzer rebounded to strike out Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. Ausmus then visited the mound, but he left Scherzer in. Alcides Escobar followed with a flyout on Scherzer’s 110th and final pitch.
Jason Vargas, who signed a $32 million, four-year contract in the offseason, was sharp in his first start for Kansas City. He allowed a run and five hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out six.
Kinsler’s homer in the fourth was Detroit’s first hit.