Alex Gordon had already struck out three times when he came to the plate with the bases loaded in the 10th inning.
‘‘I was just trying to make contact,’’ the Kansas City outfielder said.
He ended up hitting his first career grand slam, helping the Royals to an encouraging win at the end of a difficult road trip.
Gordon’s drive highlighted a five-run 10th for Kansas City, which rallied against the Detroit bullpen for an 8-3 victory Thursday after Tigers ace Justin Verlander left with a blister on his thumb.
George Kottaras put the Royals ahead, 4-3, 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 a homer that 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 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 adjusted fine to the unexpected days off and finished the trip with a two-game split against the Tigers, leaving Comerica Park in first place in the AL Central.
The Royals went 4-3 at Atlanta, Boston, and Detroit.
‘‘This was a phenomenal road trip for us,’’ said righthander James Shields, who pitched eight solid innings Thursday. ‘‘We’re going to look back at this road trip, and I think it’s going to be a pretty crucial road trip.’’
Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3 — With Derek Jeter making his first visit to the Bronx this season, Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer and New York used a flurry of early long balls to outslug Toronto.
Vernon Wells homered again against Mark Buehrle, and Francisco Cervelli also connected for the Yankee in their third win over the Blue Jays in a week. The Yankees took two of three in a weekend series in Toronto.
Rangers 2, Twins 1 — Nick Tepesch pitched six strong innings for his second win while Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz each drove in runs to lead Texas to victory in Minneapolis.
Tepesch (2-1) allowed five hits in 6⅔ innings. He shut the Twins out through six before Josh Willingham homered in the seventh inning to make it 2-1. The rookie righthander had allowed only two baserunners up to that point and showed no lingering effects from taking a liner off his right forearm last weekend against Seattle.
Mariners 6, Angels 0 — Carlos Peguero hit a mammoth homer in his first at-bat of the season and Kyle Seager had a two-run homer to help host Seattle beat Los Angeles.
Peguero hit his solo shot on a 3-2 pitch from Garrett Richards (1-1) in the third, 451 feet to deep center.
Orioles 10, Athletics 2 — Nate McLouth reached base four times and scored twice, Nick Markakis drove in two runs, and Baltimore opened its longest road trip of the season by routing host Oakland.
Cubs 4, Marlins 3 — Luis Valbuena hit a tie-breaking solo home run in the ninth inning to lift Chicago to victory in Miami.
White Sox 5, Rays 2 — Chris Sale overcame a shaky first inning to combine with two relievers on a five-hitter and Adam Dunn homered to lead host Chicago over Tampa Bay.
Diamondbacks 3, Rockies 2 — Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run home run in the fourth inning powered host Arizona over Colorado.
Nationals 8, Reds 1 — Gio Gonzalez allowed just one hit in eight innings, and Denard Span and Danny Espinosa drove in three runs each to lead host Washington over Cincinnati.
Dodgers 3, Mets 2 — Andre Ethier hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning and visiting Los Angeles, boosted by a sharp outing from Hyun-Jin Ryu, defeated New York.
Pirates 6, Phillies 4 — Gaby Sanchez homered and drove in three runs, and Garrett Jones hit a go-ahead, two-run double to lead visiting Pittsburgh to a comeback victory over Philadelphia.