Paulo Orlando sparked the Kansas City Royals with his glove early and his bat late.
Orlando hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, his first of the season, as the Royals rallied from a three-run deficit to beat Detroit 7-4 on Wednesday night, the Tigers' ninth straight loss.
The centerfielder made a superb running catch in the first inning to rob Nicholas Castellanos of an extra-base hit with two runners on base.
"That was huge," Royals starter Jason Hammel said. "I thought Nick hit that better, but that's the friendly confines of The K (Kauffman Stadium) helping out there. You've got to hit it pretty well to get it past some of our guys.
"Paulo had a great game tonight overall. He helped me spit the hook there at the end of the game with the two-run homer to put us ahead and the guys added on."
The Tigers are 4-22 in September and have been outscored 68-30 in the skid. The last time Detroit lost nine in a row was Sept. 1-9, 2005.
"It's probably more inexperience than anything else," Tigers lame duck manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's been tough. We've got four wins in the month of September and part of it is we haven't pitched real well."
Orlando's home run was his first since Sept. 19, 2016, going 117 at-bats between long balls.
"Kind of vintage Paulo," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Scott Alexander (5-4), the third Kansas City pitcher, picked up the victory with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Drew VerHagen (0-3) gave up the home run to Orlando with Alcides Escobar, who had tripled, aboard.
The Royals padded their lead with a three-run eighth, which was highlighted by a two-run double by Escobar. Whit Merrifield scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch by Chad Bell.
Hammel gave up three runs in the first three innings, but after James McCann's run-producing double in the third, he did not allow another hit. He retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced, giving up three runs and six hits over six innings.
Jeimer Candelario drove in three Detroit runs with singles in the first and third innings and a ground out in the ninth.
Melky Cabrera's two-out single in the bottom of the third scored Merrifield and Alex Gordon, cutting the Tigers' lead to 3-2.
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann was pulled after 84 pitches and six innings, yielding two runs and four hits.
"Obviously, I want to win and everybody in here wants to win," Zimmermann said. "For me, personally, it was a good start to finish the year."
Mike Minor got the final two outs for his fourth save in six situations.
Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera, who has two herniated discs, said he will get a second opinion Monday in Miami. "I hope I can take care of this in the offseason, come back next year and try to play every day," he said Wednesday. "I think I need to change a lot of things in the offseason so I can come here in better shape and not be hurt. I don't want an injection because I don't want to put a Band-Aid on my injury. There's no reason to do that. Let's do all the therapy I have to do and we'll see." He said he initially injured his back in spring training, lifting heavy weights. Cabrera is an 11-time All-Star selection and entered this season as a career .321 hitter with 446 HRs and 1,553 RBIs. In 130 games this season, he hit .249 with 16 home runs and 60 RBIs. "It's a nightmare," he said of the season.
All nine Romine
Manager Brad Ausmus plans to play Andrew Romine in all nine positions in the Tigers' finale Sunday at Minnesota. Romine has played every position but catcher in his career. He caught RHPs Anibal Sanchez and Buck Farmer bullpen sessions Wednesday. Sanchez is the probable Sunday starter. "That would be nice," Romine said. "I've caught him plenty of times between innings. And he doesn't throw 100. That's the main thing." The only other players to play all nine defensive positions in a major league game are Bert Campaneris, Kansas City Athletics, Sept. 8, 1965; Cesar Tovar, Minnesota Twins, Sept. 22, 1968; Scott Sheldon, Texas Rangers, Sept. 6, 2000; and Shane Halter, Tigers, Oct. 1, 2000. Halter had four hits, three RBIs and scored the winning run against the Twins. "I'm excited, to be part of history," Romine said. "I'll be the fifth one here pretty quick."
Pedro Martinez Jr., the son of the Hall of Fame pitcher, signed with the Tigers. Unlike his dad, the younger Martinez, who lives in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a third baseman.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris, who has walked 44 in 96 2/3 innings, will start the series finale.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy will take a 9-9 record into his final start of the year.