KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals had a good start and Mike Sweeney gave them a great finish.
Sweeney's double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Royals a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday. Kansas City scored three runs in the first inning then had to rally to avoid its 100th loss of the season for a second straight game.
Pinch-hitter Aaron Guiel singled with one out in the ninth against Craig Dingman (3-3) and he scored easily on Sweeney's double to right-center, his second RBI of the game.
"I was just looking for a good pitch to drive," Sweeney said. "I was trying to get a pitch up that I could drive and I got lucky and I hit it out to the gap to help our team win the game.
Mike MacDougal (4-5) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
The Royals took advantage of errors by Chris Shelton and Nook Logan to score three runs, two unearned, in the first. Chip Ambres led off and reached first on Shelton's fielding error at first base. Ambres advanced to third on Terrence Long's single and scored on Sweeney's sacrifice fly.
Emil Brown singled, sending Long to third. Brown went to second on Logan's throwing error from center field. Matt Stairs lined a single to left to score Brown and Long.
"Scoring three against (Mike) Maroth in that first inning, we thought, 'Oh man, we're on to something,'" Sweeney said. "And they pretty much shut us down the rest of that way. To come up with a walk-off win in the ninth, it was fun. We never quit, never die.
"We didn't have a huge crowd today, but the fans we do have we want to put on a pretty good show so that next year when we're winning we can fill the stadium up like the Chiefs do."
Tigers manager Alan Trammell pointed to the Royals' three-run first as the major culprit.
"The first inning was the big inning," Trammell said. "Coming out of the chute, we played real sloppy. Right out of the get-go, we're losing, we don't play well. We can talk about other things, but if we don't give up three runs in the first it's a different type of game."
The Tigers scored two runs in the second as Brandon Inge and John McDonald each drove in a run.
John Buck's sacrifice fly in the fourth scored Stairs, who led off with a walk and went to third on Angel Berroa's double.
The Tigers tied it at 4 with a two-run fifth, chasing rookie left-hander J.P. Howell. Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco and Shelton started the inning with singles for the first run, and Shawn Camp replaced Howell. Camp's wild pitch allowed Polanco to score the second run of the inning.
Howell, who gave up four runs, six hits and three walks in four innings, has allowed 10 runs and 13 hits in seven innings in his past two starts, both no-decisions.
"I'm disappointed in the way I pitched," Howell said. "But at the same time, it is one of those things, where I'm just going to keep hanging in there. I can't really dwell on it. I have to understand when I miss, it can't be by that much. I was missing by too much. I was missing by five or six inches, instead of two or three. Sweeney came through in the end for us."
Camp pitched three shutout innings, allowing two hits, before being replaced by rookie left-hander Andrew Sisco to begin the eighth.
Maroth went seven innings, allowing four runs, two earned, and eight hits. Chris Spurling replaced him in the eighth.
DH Dmitri Young was not in the Tigers' starting lineup for the 13th straight game because of a left hamstring injury. He is limited to pinch-hitting duties and singled in the ninth. When Young gets on base, a pinch runner must be used. ... RHP Jason Grilli made his Tigers debut in relief. It was exactly 30 years ago that Grilli's dad, Steve, made his Detroit debut. ... Ambres batted leadoff for the 11th time this season. ... Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez caught his 1,806th game, tying Rick Ferrell for ninth in major-league history.