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Tigers overcome Royals on Rodriguez three-run homer

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Closer David Riske thought Ivan Rodriguez would be bunting with two runners on base and none out in the ninth.

"That's what I get for thinking," Riske said.

Instead of the bunt sign, Tigers manager Jim Leyland gave Rodriguez the green light and he hit a three-run homer off Riske to give the Tigers a 3-2 win over Kansas City on Sunday.

"In that situation it could be anything," Rodriguez said. "They know sometimes I can bunt or swing the bat. With the tying run at first base, sometimes you've got to put those runners in scoring position. Jim likes to play the game like that. He gave me the green light and he threw it right where I wanted it, right down the middle, and I was able to connect for a home run.

"That's why you've got to play hard for 27 outs. Things can happen quickly."

Rodriguez hit the first pitch he saw out to left after Magglio Ordonez led off the inning with a double and Carlos Guillen walked. It was the 20th career home run against the Royals for Rodriguez, a .352 hitter at Kauffman Stadium.

"I thought Pudge was going to bunt and I threw him a fastball down the middle," Riske said. "I'm thinking about trying to field the bunt and getting the next out instead of making a quality pitch and it came back and bit me."

Fernando Rodney (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Todd Jones got his third save in three chances.

"We have one of the most potent offenses because these guys can score pretty quickly, so you've got to be prepared," Jones said. "After Pudge goes deep, you've got to make sure you get the job done. It changes the whole series. You don't want to waste it. Everybody else is up in the bullpen screaming when Pudge homers, but I can't enjoy it. I've got to get ready to go in and do my job."

Riske (0-1) gave up two hits and a walk for the Royals' first blown save. Kansas City led the majors with 31 last year.

Rodriguez spoiled an excellent start by Royals right-hander Brandon Duckworth, who pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits. Duckworth, a non-roster invitee to spring training, was making his first start since July 23. He had elbow surgery on Aug. 15 to remove bone chips.

"My sinker was working well," Duckworth said. "I let my defense do the work. On a day like today, you want to keep your pitches low."

Duckworth earned the fifth spot in the Kansas City rotation when Luke Hudson went on the disabled list at the end of spring training with a sore right shoulder.

"He dominated us early in the game," Rodriguez said. "He was pitching great, keeping the ball down, using all his pitches."

After a double in the second by Guillen, Duckworth didn't allow another hit until Placido Polanco's single with two out in the sixth. Duckworth came out in the seventh after surrendering back-to-back singles to Guillen and Rodriguez.

After left-hander Jimmy Gobble retired Sean Casey, rookie Joakim Soria, the third pitcher of the inning, walked Marcus Thames to load the bases. But Soria got Brandon Inge to fly out to end the threat. Inge is 0-for-16.

Mark Teahen homered with two out in the first off Jeremy Bonderman, his first home run since Sept. 1.

Bonderman gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings, while walking one intentionally and striking out eight.

Notes

  • Royals 1B Ryan Shealy snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a fourth-inning double for his first hit of the season and singled in the sixth.
  • Tigers RHP Chad Durbin will make his first big league start since Aug. 26, 2004, Monday at Baltimore.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Ivan Rodriguez surprises the Royals by not bunting in the ninth and instead belting a 3-run homer.  (AP)
Ivan Rodriguez surprises the Royals by not bunting in the ninth and instead belting a 3-run homer. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

M. Teahen
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Detroit

I. Rodriguez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF4000011 .300
Placido Polanco, 2B4010000 .409
Gary Sheffield, DH4000022 .176
Magglio Ordonez, RF4110000 .176
Carlos Guillen, SS3120110 .250
Ivan Rodriguez, C4123001 .381
Sean Casey, 1B4000003 .176
Marcus Thames, LF2000210 .000
    Craig Monroe, LF0000000 .143
Brandon Inge, 3B4000004 .000
Totals3336335  
Batting
2B - Magglio Ordonez (1, Riske), Carlos Guillen (1, Duckworth)
HR - Ivan Rodriguez (2, Riske)
RBI - Ivan Rodriguez 3 (4)
Team LOB - 6
Detroit Tigers
Jeremy Bonderman 6722181 3.75
Bobby Seay 1000100 0.00
Fernando Rodney (W,1-1) 1100000 13.50
Todd Jones (S,3) 1100010 0.00
IBB - Teahen by Jeremy Bonderman
WP - Jeremy Bonderman (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Bonderman 106-73, Bobby Seay 23-13, Fernando Rodney 15-9, Todd Jones 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Bonderman 6-4, Bobby Seay 2-1, Fernando Rodney 1-2, Todd Jones 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeremy Bonderman 26, Bobby Seay 4, Fernando Rodney 4, Todd Jones 4
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, CF4030100 .391
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5000025 .130
Mark Teahen, RF3122101 .333
Emil Brown, LF4000004 .133
Alex Gordon, 3B4000020 .053
Reggie Sanders, DH4010010 .500
Ryan Shealy, 1B4020011 .125
Jason LaRue, C3000022 .111
   a- Esteban German, PH1000010 .500
Tony Pena, SS4110000 .286
Totals3629229  
a-struck out for LaRue in the 9th
Batting
2B - David DeJesus (3, Bonderman), Reggie Sanders (2, Rodney), Ryan Shealy (1, Bonderman)
HR - Mark Teahen (1, Bonderman)
RBI - Mark Teahen 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teahen 2 (3)
Team LOB - 9
Kansas City Royals
Brandon Duckworth 6.1400120 0.00
Jimmy Gobble (H,1) 0.1000000 0.00
Joakim Soria (H,2) 1.1000120 0.00
David Riske (BS,1; L,0-1) 1233111 9.00
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Duckworth 89-48, Jimmy Gobble 2-2, Joakim Soria 19-13, David Riske 25-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Duckworth 10-7, David Riske 1-1
Batters Faced - Brandon Duckworth 24, Jimmy Gobble 1, Joakim Soria 5, David Riske 6
Game Information
Attendance - 13109
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 40
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Joe West