DETROIT -- Two walkoff wins in one series is rare. Two walkoff wins in a single game?
Yep, that's a new one.
Technically, the Detroit Tigers did it only once when Ian Kinsler launched a solo shot to left in the bottom of the 11th inning that sent his teammates charging out of the dugout to engulf him at home plate following the club's thrilling 6-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
The team had already celebrated a win earlier when a sacrifice fly from Andrew Romine scored Kinsler, who was ruled safe after appearing to beat the tag at home plate in the bottom of the ninth. The team erupted, Romine received the customary Gatorade bath and fans started heading for the exits.
But the game did not end there.
Royals manager Ned Yost asked for a crew chief review and Gary Cederstrom acquiesced. After 2 minutes, 10 seconds of poring over the video, which showed catcher Salvador Perez barely grazing the tip of Kinsler's shoe, Cederstrom overturned the ruling on a field -- an unpopular decision at Comerica Park.
It was maybe a width of a hair, manager Brad Ausmus guessed, but it was enough for both clubs to return to the field and resume play for extra innings.
"Ironically, a couple of days ago, it was something I told Jeff Jones, that eventually somebody's going to walk it off, and they're going to dump Gatorade all over the person, and they're going to tell them to go back in the field," Ausmus said. "Unfortunately, that happened to us."
It was a seismic shift in emotion; the euphoria from a huge win being quickly zapped by the sobering reminder of more baseball to play. And to play those extra innings wet, no less.
"It's definitely a huge downer. You're going from one extreme to the other," Ausmus said. "It's probably most difficult for Romine because he's got Gatorade all over his shoes."
Yet the Tigers were not deterred in racking up their fourth straight win and second consecutive walk-off victory. Fittingly, it was Kinsler who delivered the heroics again, smacking a 79-mph curveball from Miguel Almonte for his third career walk-off home run and second within a span of six weeks.
Kinsler, who also made an exceptional run-saving play in the seventh inning, recorded his league-leading 58th multi-hit game of the season, also a career high.
The best part of his game-ending line drive? There was no second-guessing.
"It was guaranteed. It went over the fence. So the game was over right there. There was no reviewing that one," Kinsler said, smiling in his dirt-stained uniform and slumped in his chair. "It's always nice to win a game like that."
Kinsler's heroics were not the only bright spot of the Tigers' series-winning victory. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, both of whom have struggled recently, chipped in offensively. Matt Boyd was strong in allowing just two runs on three hits in six innings of work. And reliever Tom Gorzelanny, who had not pitched since Sept. 13, was superb in throwing two scoreless innings to pick up the win.
"It was awesome," Boyd said. "It was huge. Extra innings, it's always tough [because] you're obviously getting deeper in the bullpen and pitching innings that guys don't expect to pitch. He came out there, and there's a reason he's had so much success in his career at this level. He's a veteran. He comes out there and attacks."
Gorzelanny, who has been working on incorporating a new arm slot in his pitching delivery, said he didn't even feel rusty. Instead, he has been feeling more confident with each time on the mound.
"It's been trying. People my age and at this point in their career don't usually make arm-angle changes in the middle of the season. It's probably not advisable for most people to do it," the 33-year-old veteran said. "But it was an idea I wanted to try and they wanted me to try and it's worked. It looked good and it felt good. It's just a matter of getting used to it and getting reps. The most important thing is doing it as much as you can -- and that's kind of tough [to] do during a season."
For Gorzelanmy to come through, especially considering the struggles of fellow relievers such as Al Alburquerque and Bruce Rondon (Ausmus shut down speculation about his status as the closer), was critical.
"Gorzo did a great job. There wasn't even a threat," Kinsler said. "It was pretty easy work for him, so he did a great job and he deserves that win."