DETROIT — That's not a mistake in the box score.
Willie Bloomquist really did bat third in the starting lineup for the first time in his nine-year career Wednesday afternoon when the Royals completed a three-game series against Detroit.
And Bloomquist really did deliver a home run in the 12th inning that carried the Royals to a 4-3 victory at Comerica Park. And he really did do all of that after manager Ned Yost, in his pre-game remarks, "guaranteed" Bloomquist would get a "couple of hits."
And Bloomquist really did hit that homer after being pointedly reminded by Yost that he was still a hit short of fulfilling that guarantee as the game went into extra innings.
And... well, isn't that enough?
"Crazy," Bloomquist said. "Just the fact I got to hit third today ranks pretty high (on his list of memories). That was kind of cool. I had never done that before. To be able to come through and help us get a win, that will go up there. It was pretty cool."
Bloomquist's one-out drive to left came on a full-count fastball from reliever Alfredo Figaro and capped a comeback from a 3-0 deficit that enabled the Royals to avoid their first sweep in Detroit in more than eight years.
"I don't hit too many," Bloomquist said, "but I got all of that one. That's about as far as I can probably hit one. I had a pretty good idea it was gone. It was in the right part of the park. It wasn't in left-center where it was going to be close."
Yost tapped Bloomquist to bat third after choosing to rest four starters in the series finale. Asked if he was playing a hunch, Yost parried: "You have a better idea?... I guarantee you he'll get a couple of hits. You watch. Willie will get a couple of hits today."
Bloomquist had a double in the first inning but made outs in his next four at-bats before getting a needle from Yost.
"I told him," Yost said, "'You know it's a darn shame when your manager has more confidence in your ability than you do.' "
Phil Humber got his first career victory by pitching three scoreless innings. Joakim Soria worked the final inning for 36th save in 38 opportunities, including a club-record 29 in a row.
Bloomquist's homer completed a Kila Ka'aihue-fueled rally that saw the Royals erase a three-run deficit against Tigers starter Armando Galarraga and All-Star closer Jose Valverde.
Let's back up.
Ramon Santiago's two-run triple highlighted a three-run second inning against Royals starter Sean O'Sullivan. And while O'Sullivan permitted nothing more in pitching through the seventh, it didn't seem to matter because Galarraga was dominant.
"It was a game that we had in hand," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We just let it get away."
Ka'aihue's leadoff homer in the seventh inning ended Galarraga's shutout. Ka'aihue then produced an RBI double in a two-run eighth after Valverde replaced Ryan Perry with one on and two outs.
"It really feels good to contribute," said Ka'aihue, who also walked twice in six plate appearances after hitting a homer Tuesday in his final at-bat.
"I just had to go back to what I need to be doing. I was trying to do some things I was not capable of doing. I was looking out of my zone and trying to hit more pitches. Stuff like that. Just not playing my game."
Brayan Pena followed Ka'aihue with another RBI double against Valverde and, that quickly, the Royals were even at 3-3.
"I was trying to do something to follow a great at-bat by Kila," Pena said. "I got a chance to see a couple of pitches, and I think I got lucky."
Thereafter, it became a battle of bullpens. Dusty Hughes and Jesse Chavez worked the eighth before Humber pitched three innings. The Tigers matched zeroes until the game funneled to Bloomquist.
"Ned reminded me that I owe him another hit," Bloomquist said. "He told me he had promised two. I thought, 'OK.' I didn't think it was going to be one of that caliber, but I'll take it."