(Sports Network) – The Detroit Tigers try to strengthen their lead atop the American League Central standings this afternoon when they continue a four- game set with the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park.
The Tigers picked up a much-needed win on Tuesday, as Ramon Santiago’s home run in the 10th inning gave Detroit a dramatic 2-1 win.
Joaquin Benoit (4-3) kept the Royals off the board in the ninth and 10th frames, and Santiago stepped in against Aaron Crow (3-4) and finished off the visitors with his fourth home run of the season.
“I knew I hit it pretty good,” Santiago said. “I’m going to enjoy it.”
Santiago entered as a pinch-runner for Magglio Ordonez in the eighth inning after he knocked in Ryan Raburn with the tying run.
Detroit snapped a two-game slide, but still leads the division by five games over the red-hot Chicago White Sox, who have won five in a row and will visit the Tigers this weekend.
The ending overshadowed a pitching clinic by starters Doug Fister and Jeff Francis.
The Royals pounded out 18 hits in a 9-5 win in Monday’s opener, but went down in order against Fister in each of the first six innings on Tuesday.
“He had no-hit stuff,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Fister. “He was nasty.”
Hoping to make it two straight wins tonight the Tigers will hand the ball to righty Rick Porcello, who is 12-8 with a 5.01 ERA. Porcello won for the first time in five starts on Friday in Minnesota, as he limited the Twins to a run and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“I think he’s in a little bit of a hurry, I think he’s a little anxious,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “But he finally did settle in, slowed down a little bit and got much more effective once he did that.”
Porcello is 4-2 in 10 starts against the Royals with a 4.65 ERA.
Kansas City, meanwhile, will hand the ball to right-hander Nate Adcock, who will be making a spot start in place of Felipe Paulino. Paulino was scratched earlier on Wednesday because of back spasms.
Adcock has appeared in 21 games (two starts) this season and is 1-1 with a 4.56 ERA.
Detroit is 9-5 this season versus the Royals.