KANSAS CITY — Everything you need to know about Brandon Moss's season could be summed up by the way he greeted a pack of reporters that gathered around his locker after a crucial hit in the ninth inning helped lift the Kansas City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

"This is really nice," he said, "to talk to you guys about something other than sucking."

Moss was signed in the offseason to provide some punch to the Kansas City lineup, but he's struggled so mightily that he has hardly played. He came into the game hitting just .188 with 10 homers and 16 RBIs.

All those numbers took a bump up Wednesday night.

Moss homered in the third off Justin Verlander before coming through against Tigers closer Justin Wilson (3-4) in the ninth. The Tigers had gone ahead on Mikie Mahtook's two-run shot off Kelvin Herrera in the top half when Moss doubled off the wall in center to drive in the tying run.

Moss went to third on the throw to the plate, and Alex Gordon sent a fly ball to center that was just deep enough to give him his sixth career walk-off RBI and the Royals a much-needed win.

They had lost the first two games of the series and seven of eight overall.

"We've talked about the importance of getting him hot," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Moss, whose homer was his first since July 1. "He can definitely change the game."

Jason Hammel and three Royals relievers had successfully ushered a 2-1 lead to Herrera, who proceeded to walk Victor Martinez in the ninth. Andrew Romine came in to pinch run and swiped second base, but all it did was shorten his trot home when Mahtook went deep.

Herrera threw one more pitch before summoning the training staff and leaving the game. He had an illness that sidelined him the past couple of games and said he overheated.

"I felt worn out," Herrera said. "No energy."

Kevin McCarthy, 1-0, got the final two outs to earn the win.