Rodriguez drove in five runs in the final two innings and Detroit rallied from a six-run deficit to beat Kansas City 13-8 Thursday, handing the Royals their 13th straight loss.
Vance Wilson was scheduled to catch the finale of the four-game series to give Rodriguez a rest, but Wilson stepped on a ball Wednesday night.
"I'm ready to play every day," Rodriguez said. "Vance got hurt and it's my job to go back there and go to work."
Rodriguez hit a two-run triple in the eighth to erase Kansas City's 8-6 lead and a three-run homer in Detroit's five-run ninth. Craig Monroe, who went 4-for-4, and Marcus Thames started the ninth with solo homers off Elmer Dessens (2-5).
"I felt a little tired at the end," Rodriguez said. "But I just put that aside."
Making KC's loss sting even worse was the fact they knocked Mike Maroth out of the game in the first inning with three straight home runs and seized a 6-0 lead.
"We've done this before. This isn't anything new," Royals manager Buddy Bell said.
"I don't know how many games during the stretch where we've done exactly what we did today."
The 13-game losing streak is the second-longest ever for Kansas City, which lost 19 in a row last season. The Royals are a major league-worst 10-35 and drawing comparisons to some of the most terrible teams in history.
Only Boston in 1932, Baltimore in 1988 and Washington in 1904 had worse records (9-36) after 45 games.
"I've kind of run out of things to say," said Doug Mientkiewicz, who had one of the first-inning homers. "There's really not much to talk about."
Has the ineptitude become baffling?
"We passed that point about three weeks ago," Mientkiewicz said.
Detroit scored eight runs in the final two innings to complete their first four-game sweep in Kansas City. Thames also hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, who have won 13 of their last 14 games.
"I'm seriously proud of our team today," said Monroe, who also scored four runs. "It would have been easy to say, `We've won three games. We're down 6-0. It's over. Let's pack up the tent.'
"But to see our team come together and keep battling is a good feeling. It's a good feeling to walk away with a 'W."'
But Rodriguez's two-run triple off Ambiorix Burgos with two outs in the eighth tied it at 8 and denied Bobby Keppel the win in his major league debut.
Keppel, after holding the Tigers scoreless for three innings of relief, gave up a leadoff single to Monroe in the eighth and handed Burgos an 8-5 lead.
When Keppel was replaced in the eighth, the crowd gave a standing ovation to what they thought would be the first winning Kansas City pitcher since May 10. He went 3 1/3 innings and gave up one run and two hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
After Bobby Seay walked Shane Costa with one out in the bottom of the eighth, Detroit's Joel Zumaya (3-0) struck out Reggie Sanders with a fastball clocked at 101 mph and got Emil Brown on a liner to left to keep the teams tied at 8.
Martha's rough outing started with Esteban German's leadoff single and a popout by Costa.
Then, in succession, Reggie Sanders and Emil Brown doubled ahead of the three homers. Maroth recorded just one out, allowing six runs and six hits. His ERA, third in the AL when the game began, jumped from 2.45 to 3.56. Since 2002, he had beaten the Royals nine times.
"I did not think that game was over at 6-0, not the way that ball was flying," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm real proud of them. We could have packed it in."
- The Royals optioned RHP Leo Nunez to Triple-A Omaha and replaced him with Keppel.
- The last time KC hit three straight home runs was May 31, 2002, at Texas by Carlos Beltran, Mike Sweeney and Joe Randa.
- Jack Hannahan made his major league debut at first base for Detroit.
- It was a tough day for home plate umpire Chuck Meriwether. Twice he had to back away and regroup after being hit by balls behind the plate.