Inside the Royals' big ninth-inning rally

Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers' Francisco Rodriguez has 430 career saves, the most among all active pitchers, but failed to notch number 431 on Saturday.

Rodriguez entered in the top of the ninth with the Tigers leading the Royals 4-2, bidding for his 45th save of the season, which would be his most in a season since having 62 saves with the Angels in 2008 at age 26.

Instead, he allowed five runs, tying his career-high mark, for the first time since 2009. It was his first blown save since September 2, in a game that also came against the Royals.

Rodriguez has struggled against Kansas City this year. He has a 10.50 ERA and 2 blown saves against them this season, compared to a 2.45 ERA and three blown saves against all other teams.

Eric Hosmer capped off the scoring with a go-ahead, three-run home run after Paulo Orlando tied it with a two-run double and Cheslor Cuthbert walked. It was Hosmer’s fifth career go-ahead home run in the 9th inning or later and his second this season -- also against the Tigers. It was his first career hit against Rodriguez. Hosmer had entered the day 0-for-4 against him in his career.

It was Detroit's second loss this season when leading entering the 9th inning and first since June 13. The five runs allowed in the 9th were the club's most allowed in the frame since July 2015.

Entering the day, the Tigers were 73-1, with the fifth-best winning percentage in the majors when leading after 8 innings, behind the Orioles, Cubs, Red Sox and Indians.

But it seems that the Royals have the Tigers’ late-inning number. The Royals have a .309 batting average with a 1.060 OPS against the Tigers in the ninth this season. They have a .260 batting average with a .689 OPS in the ninth against all other teams.

Kansas City has five ninth-inning home runs against the Tigers in 18 games this year, compared to nine such home runs in 137 games against all other teams.