Tigers' rally wasted as Royals score on Detroit's error in 11th inning

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Just when it looked as if another great effort from a Royals starting pitcher was going to be wasted again, Alberto Callaspo came through.

Callaspo hit a tying homer to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning and pinch runner Willie Bloomquist scored on an error to give the Kansas City Royals a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.

"We felt like we were in the driver's seat Monday and let it slip away, and then we were in the driver's seat again tonight," Chris Getz said. "If we had let it slip away, we would have bounced back, but it would have been more difficult."

On Opening Day, Zack Greinke outdueled Detroit's Justin Verlander, and Kansas City led 4-2 after six innings, but the bullpen blew the lead and the game.

On Wednesday night, neither bullpen did well.

After Callaspo's shot off Jose Valverde (0-1), Billy Butler singled and Bloomquist ran for him. He stopped at third on Rick Ankiel's double to right-center, but went home when rookie second baseman Scott Sizemore dropped the relay throw.

"Valverde has pretty much been automatic," Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. "That happens. That's part of the game. Callaspo laid off some really good pitches and had a great at-bat and was able to get hold of one and put it in the right spot in the ballpark. The ball wasn't really carrying today, but that corner, from Miggy's home run, it was."

Miguel Cabrera homered to right field off Joakim Soria with two outs in the ninth inning after a 10-pitch at-bat to tie the score at 1. Carlos Guillen hit an RBI single in the top of the 11th to put Detroit ahead.

Kyle Farnsworth (1-0), the fifth Kansas City pitcher, gave up singles to Magglio Ordonez, Cabrera and Guillen to start the 11th.

Luke Hochevar, the first overall pick in the 2006 draft, threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, holding the Tigers to five hits on a cold, wet and windy night.

Hochevar, who was 1-10 with an 8.21 earned run average in his final 13 starts last season, gave up five hits, including a wind-blown triple to Austin Jackson with two out in the third. Hochevar struck out Johnny Damon to strand him.

"Those conditions were kind of rough," Hochevar said. "Once the rain stopped, it was fine. Growing up in Colorado, I had to learn how to pitch in cold weather, so it doesn't bother me."

Royals starters have begun the season with one earned run in 13 2/3 innings. If not for Callaspo and Bloomquist, they might have two losses to show for all that.

"He's a great hitter and is going to be a huge asset to our lineup and having an at-bat like that to tie it up was huge," Getz said. "It showed the resilience of our team. We went up and we went down and they went back up and all of sudden they took the winds from our sails.

Getz's two-out single to right in the seventh off Fu-Te Ni scored Yuniesky Betancourt, who singled and went to second when Jason Kendall walked.

Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer held the Royals hitless until Kendall's single to right with two out in the fifth. The Royals loaded the bases in the inning with a hit batter and walk sandwiched around Kendall's single, but came away empty after David DeJesus looked at a called third strike.

Scherzer allowed one hit in six innings.

Cabrera entered the game 8 for 9 with eight consecutive hits off Hochevar, but went 0 for 3 against the right-hander.

Royals starters Greinke and Hochevar have allowed one earned run in 13 2/3 innings in the first two games.

Game notes
RHP Gil Meche, who threw 81 pitches in five scoreless innings Tuesday against Royals minor leagues, joined the team Wednesday. Meche, who is on the disabled list with shoulder bursitis, is penciled in to start Sunday against Boston. ... RHP Anthony Lerew, who was designated for assignment Sunday, cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to the Royals Triple-A Omaha affiliate. ... RHP Brian Bannister, who starts the Thursday afternoon game, is 17-8 in 32 career day games.