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GAME OF THE DAY

Tigers Let This One Get Away to Royals

September 30, 2006|From the Associated Press

DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers wasted an excellent opportunity to take command of the Central Division. Minnesota's loss lessened the blow.

Emil Brown and Paul Phillips led off the 11th inning with home runs and Jeff Keppinger followed with a two-run shot to lift the Kansas City Royals to a 9-7 victory Friday night over the Tigers, who had a five-run lead early in the game and led by one run in the ninth.

Detroit (95-65) remained tied with the Twins atop the division with two games left, but the Tigers have the tiebreaker because they won the season series, 11-8. The Twins lost to Chicago Friday.

"When they lose, you want to take advantage of it," said Todd Jones, who blew his fifth save in 42 opportunities. "But if you stumble, you hope they do, too.

"I haven't blown too many, but this would've been a good one to nail down."

The Tigers had a chance to come back in the 11th when Joe Nelson loaded the bases with walks, but they came away with just Carlos Guillen's two-run single off Joel Peralta, who got Ivan Rodriguez to ground into a double play for the first save of his career.

"It is good to see them smiling," said Kansas City interim manager Bill Doran, filling in for Buddy Bell. "We've had a lot of disappointments this year, but those guys have a lot of pride, and they aren't going to stop."

Curtis Granderson led off the game with a homer and hit another one in the third to spark a four-run inning to help the Tigers take a 5-0 lead, which was slowly whittled away by the Royals, who beat Detroit for only the second time in 14 games this season.

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