DETROIT (AP) - Justin Verlander left the game with a blister on his thumb, and suddenly Detroit's one-run lead felt a bit less safe.
Sure enough, the Kansas City Royals scored six times in the next three innings.
Alex Gordon's grand slam highlighted a five-run 10th inning for Kansas City, which rallied against the Detroit bullpen for an 8-3 win over the Tigers on Thursday.
Verlander is day to day with what the team said was cracked skin on his throwing thumb. He and manager Jim Leyland described the injury as a blister.
``It developed a little in my last start. Started getting a little bit worse after the fifth, and I started to notice it,' Verlander said. ``I didn't want to risk it becoming something that I might have to deal with in my next start and the start after that, and then it turns into a month. This way, it isn't an issue. That's why I got out of there.'
Verlander's departure gave reliever Bruce Rondon a chance to make his major league debut. The hard-throwing 22-year-old replaced Verlander with a 3-2 lead in the eighth, but he allowed the tying run that inning.
George Kottaras put the Royals ahead 4-3 in the 10th with a bases-loaded walk off Phil Coke (0-3). Darin Downs came on for Detroit after that, but Gordon broke the game open one out later with his homer over the center-field wall.
Verlander allowed two runs - one earned - in seven innings.
Tim Collins (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the Royals and got the win.
Rondon, the hard-throwing 22-year-old who was a candidate in spring training to become Detroit's closer, began the season in the minor leagues but was called up this week. Jose Valverde is back with the Tigers, trying to show he can handle the closer spot again, and Rondon came on for the first time Thursday.
Valverde and right-hander Al Alburquerque, both of whom pitched in relief Wednesday, weren't available.
Rondon reached 100 mph according to the Comerica Park scoreboard, but Billy Butler led off against him with a single, and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson stole second. Dyson eventually scored on Lorenzo Cain's sacrifice fly.
``(Rondon) was OK. Butler didn't hit the ball that well to start that inning, and Cain got a sacrifice fly on a breaking ball that got up a little,' Leyland said. ``We would have liked to get him an easier spot, but if you are here, you have to pitch, and we were short.'
Coke looked sharp in the ninth but lost his control in the 10th as a steady rain fell at Comerica Park. Cain doubled with one out, and Coke walked Mike Moustakas. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Jeff Francoeur was walked intentionally, and Coke still couldn't find the plate against Kottaras.
Downs came in and got Chris Getz to ground into a forceout at the plate, but Gordon's drive easily cleared the 420-foot marker on the wall in center.
``That's a big outfield,' Gordon said. ``I think there was a storm coming in that kind of blew it out a little bit.'
The game started after a 30-minute rain delay, another interruption in an unusual road trip for the Royals. Kansas City had a game at Boston last Friday postponed because of the manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
When the Royals arrived in Detroit for what was supposed to be a three-game series, the opener was rained out Tuesday.
Kansas City has not played a home game since April 14. Since then, the Royals have played seven road games in 11 days. They'll be back home Friday night against Cleveland.
Miguel Cabrera opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first, but Butler drove in a run with a single in the third. Butler had three hits on the day and improved to 23 for 55 (.418) off Verlander, the best mark of anyone with at least 30 at_bats against the Detroit ace.
Salvador Perez of Kansas City and Jhonny Peralta of Detroit each hit sacrifice flies in the fourth.
Torii Hunter's run-scoring single in the fifth gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
Shields, acquired from Tampa Bay in an offseason trade in an effort to bolster Kansas City's starting rotation, allowed three runs and five hits in eight innings. He walked three and struck out four.
NOTES: It was Butler's first three-hit game of the season. ... Ervin Santana (2-1) takes the mound for the Royals against Cleveland's Scott Kazmir (0-0) on Friday. The Tigers host a three-game series against Atlanta. Detroit's Anibal Sanchez (2-1) faces Paul Maholm (3-1) in the opener Friday night.
The Associated Press News Service
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