DETROIT -- On a night when David Price and Yordano Ventura seemed primed for a pitching duel, the Tigers and Royals instead traded rallies -- four-run innings early, then an unearned run each in the seventh -- before Anthony Gose doubled and scored on pitcher Yohan Pino's throwing error for a 6-5 Detroit win Friday night at Comerica Park.
The walk-off victory moved Detroit back on top of the American League Central by a half-game over Kansas City.
A walk and five straight Tigers singles produced the damage off Ventura in the second inning before Salvador Perez's two-run homer highlighted the Kansas City comeback against Price in the fourth. Three consecutive singles, including Alex Gordon's RBI liner to center field, pulled the Royals in front in the seventh before Gose singled and scored in the bottom half.
Price injured his ankle stepping on Gordon's bat behind home plate on his single, ending his night with a career-high 13 hits allowed over 6 1/3 innings. Ventura gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings, walking three and striking out four. More >
Ventura's runs came on a series of broken-bat hits, bloopers and seeing-eye grounders.
"I can't control that," Ventura said through interpreter Christian Colon. "I felt good. They found some holes. That's part of the game."
Added Perez: "They just found the holes. A lot of broken bats -- five or six I think. But he pitched good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Two pitches, one big win: The Tigers needed just two pitches Pino to produce the winning run in the ninth. Gose lined the first down the right-field line and into the corner for a leadoff double. Ian Kinsler laid down a bunt single, his fourth base knock of the night, with the next offering, which Pino threw away trying to get the out at first. Gose scored easily.
"That bunt is really Christian's ball at third," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Gordon's big night: Gordon had been 0-for-10 career against Price until Friday night. The Royals' left fielder started his night off with a bunt single, then he doubled and scored in the fourth. His single off Price in the seventh drove in the lead run to give Kansas City a 5-4 lead.
Tigers test the tags: Detroit turned a walk and five straight singles into four second-inning runs. Two tallies came when third-base coach Dave Clark waved runners home and tested Royals right fielder Paulo Orlando. His first throw easily beat Nick Castellanos to the plate, but Perez couldn't handle the ball on the tag. Two batters later, Perez was too far in front of plate for a swipe tag on Andrew Romine.
"Clarky has all the scouting reports on the outfield arms for every team that comes to town," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "But going back to last Spring Training, at times we're going to force the defense's hand, force them to make the play." More >
Perez tees off: Perez got the Royals' offense jump-started when he clobbered a two-run homer off Price in the fourth inning. The blast, which traveled to deep left-center, cut the Tigers' lead in half at 4-2. It was Perez's fourth homer. More >
"That fourth inning, I just fell in love with my fastball," Price said. "It's one of those things that, when you feel that good, you don't want to get beat on anything else. They hit pitches, pitches I left out over the middle of the plate, and that's why they're the Royals right now, why they're hitting over .300 as a team, and they are where they are in the standings. Just gotta make pitches."
"I've had walk-off hits, I've had a walk-off home run, and that one was probably more exciting than both." -- Kinsler, on his bunt single and Pino's game-ending error
INJURY REPORT Alex Avila was originally in the Tigers' starting lineup, but he was scratched shortly before game time with a right forearm contusion. Avila took a foul tip there Thursday afternoon against the White Sox in Chicago. James McCann started in Avila's place.
The Royals challenged a safe call on a stolen base by Detroit's Rajai Davis in the eighth inning. Kansas City pitched out, but Perez's throw to second was wide and high. Second baseman Omar Infante put the tag down in time, but second-base umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled that Infante missed Davis. The Royals challenged, and after one minute and 16 seconds of review, the call stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (1-2, 6.52 ERA) takes the hill for the Royals on Saturday in a 12:08 p.m. CT start at Comerica Park. Guthrie faced the Tigers last Sunday and was defeated, 6-4, giving up 11 hits and six runs over six innings.
Tigers:Anibal Sanchez (2-3, 5.11), who beat the Royals with 7 1/3 innings of three-run ball Sunday in Kansas City, gets the rematch Saturday afternoon at 1:08 p.m. ET. He's 6-2 with a 1.40 ERA in eight starts against the Royals since joining Detroit in 2012.