Brandon Dixon’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly scored the go-ahead run, and the Detroit Tigers emerged with a 3-2 victory over the host Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.
Jorge Soler, who drove in both of the Royals’ runs, flied out to center to end the game with the tying run on base.
Kansas City reliever Jake Diekman (0-3) walked JaCoby Jones leading off the eighth. Christin Stewart doubled under the glove of first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, sending Jones to third.
After walking Nicholas Castellanos, Diekman struck out Miguel Cabrera. But Dixon sent right fielder Terrance Gore to the fence for the go-ahead sac fly.
Nick Ramirez (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Shane Greene handled the ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances.
The three-game series shifts to Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park for Thursday’s finale as the prelude to the 2019 College World Series. The Royals, who won the series opener 3-2 on Tuesday, will try again for their first series win since April 12-14. They are 0-14-2 in their past 16 series.
Wednesday’s game was delayed at the start for 24 minutes, even though it never rained.
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Danny Duffy was solid for the Royals. He walked the first two batters he faced, then buckled down to complete seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He only walked those two batters and struck out seven.
Detroit starter Daniel Norris allowed two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts across five innings.
The Tigers got a run in the first without the benefit of a hit. Jones and Stewart walked, and following a fielder’s choice, Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Jones.
The Royals wasted a couple of scoring chances in the first two innings, but they finally got a run in the third. Whit Merrifield stroked a leadoff double. He stole third, and then scored on Soler’s double to right-center.
The Tigers answered with a run in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by John Hicks and Ronny Rodriguez for a 2-1 lead.
Soler drove home Alex Gordon with a single in the bottom of the fifth, a two-out hit just over the reach of the second baseman.
—Field Level Media