KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Eric Hosmer didn't see it coming. Neither did the Detroit Tigers.
Hosmer got a face full of teammate Billy Butler's barbecue sauce after he singled home the winning run in the 10th as the Royals beat the Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon.
Lorenzo Cain's homer in the ninth tied it to set up Hosmer's game-winning single. In the post-game celebration Hosmer was doused.
"I wish I knew the barbeque sauce was coming," Hosmer said.
Said Cain, "I thought he was bleeding at first. It made me nervous. I thought somebody elbowed him or something. I don't know who sauced him."
After setting a franchise record with 11 consecutive home losses, the Royals won seven of their final eight home games on this homestand to creep within 5 1/2 games of the Tigers.
"That's the division champs over there," Hosmer said. "That's the team we want to beat. So to take two out of three from them before our home fans was big for us."
Cain, who struck out in each of his first three at-bats, homered on a Jose Valverde 0-2 pitch with two out in the ninth to tie the score.
"I thought it was in the gap," Cain said. "I was just blowing for it to go out for me and it did."
Valverde, who blew his third save in 12 chances, has allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings in his past six outings.
Miguel Tejada led off the 10th with a single and scored on Hosmer's two-out single off Phil Coke, who dropped to 0-4.
"Tejada and Hosmer both hit fastballs," Coke said. "They weren't poorly located. They weren't great pitches, but they weren't poorly located. If the pitch to Hosmer is two inches away he hits it to the second baseman instead of up the middle."
Greg Holland worked a perfect top of the 10th, striking out two to pick up the victory.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander limited the Royals to three singles in seven innings, leaving with a 2-0 lead the bullpen failed to hold.
"It hurts," Verlander said. "You've got two outs and two strikes, and when the ball leaves the yard, it's not a good feeling. It only tied the game, so we immediately need to change our mindset to OK, let's win it. To lose it that way, it's a tough pill to swallow.
"Losing period stinks. When you lose one that's so close to a win makes it that much more difficult."
Verlander struck out eight and walked two, and his 117 pitches were the most he has thrown since April 18 when he tossed 126 pitches in a loss at Seattle.
James Shields received a no-decision, giving up two runs on seven hits in seven innings, while striking out six and walking two.
"I had pretty good stuff," Shields said. "That's a tremendous lineup over there. You can't make any mistakes. If you can minimize the damage, seven innings, two runs for that team that's a pretty solid day."
Shields is 0-4 with four no-decisions since his April 30 victory against Tampa Bay. He was spared another loss with the Royals rallying late after Verlander was pulled.
"A great ending," Shields said. "I think winning two out of three against Detroit was real big for us. That was a big series for us. I think we just showed them we're not going to go away.
"We're playing with high confidence right now. We're pitching the ball and we're getting some really good timely hitting. When you have that kind of combination, you win a lot of ball games."
Avisail Garcia led off the game with a double to right center and Torii Hunter bunted him to third. After Miguel Cabrera walked, Prince Fielder lifted a single to shallow left, scoring Garcia.
David Lough saved the Royals a run in the third when he made a spectacular tumbling catch of Cabrera's line drive to right-center with Hunter on first.
The Tigers added a run in the fifth. Matt Tuiasosopo led off with a broken-bat double down the left-field line and scored on Brayan Pena's double.
The Royals did not have a runner reach second base until the ninth inning when Hosmer singled and stole second with two out before Cain's home run.
NOTES: Royals manager Ned Yost will not be at the Thursday game at Tampa Bay, but will instead be in Atlanta to attend his daughter's wedding. Yost will rejoin the club Friday. Bench coach Chino Cadahia, who managed from 1986-95 in the minors, will be at the helm for the series opener against the Rays. ... Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Hunter, who turns 38 next month, will get Saturday off. With the Tigers idle Thursday, that will give Hunter two of the next three days off. ... Royals RHP Ervin Santana, who logged his 100th career victory Saturday, will start Thursday. His 1.39 walks per nine innings ranks fourth in the American League.