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Archive for Wednesday, May 31, 2006

K.C. comes through in 10th

Royals hang on after surrendering early lead

May 31, 2006

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— Mark Grudzielanek hit a tiebreaking single to right in the 10th inning, and the Kansas City Royals won their first extra-innings game of the year with an 8-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs tied the game with a single to center in the ninth against Huston Street, the Royals' first RBI by a pinch hitter this year. Street blew his third save chance and Matt Roney (0-1) gave up Grudzielanek's hit in the 10th.

Elmer Dessens (3-5) pitched two innings for the win, while Ambiorix Burgos recorded the final three outs for his seventh save in 12 chances.

Jay Payton hit a two-run homer and Bobby Crosby and Nick Swisher also connected for the A's, who had rallied from a four-run deficit.

Payton and Crosby both had three RBIs. Crosby also doubled twice and singled to match his career high with four hits and Swisher homered for the second straight game for the A's, who had lost nine of 10 to fall a season-worst five games under .500.

Swisher's solo shot with two outs in the third was his team-leading 16th home run. Crosby added a solo drive in the fourth, Adam Melhuse followed with a double and Payton hit an RBI single.

The Oakland Athletics' Mark Ellis, right, forces out the Kansas City Royals' Tony Graffanino at second base while turning a double play. The Royals won, 8-7, Tuesday in Oakland.

The Oakland Athletics' Mark Ellis, right, forces out the Kansas City Royals' Tony Graffanino at second base while turning a double play. The Royals won, 8-7, Tuesday in Oakland.

David DeJesus led off the game with his first home run of the year to end an 0-for-14 stretch a day after coming off the disabled list, and the Royals staked Denny Bautista to a 4-0 lead - and Kansas City nearly blew yet another game in which it jumped ahead early.

Angel Berroa hit a two-run single in the first for the Royals. Reggie Sanders matched a career high with four hits and also drove in a run.

The Royals won Monday night's opener 6-4 for only their second victory in 17 games, fourth on the road and 12th overall. They have now captured their first road series since taking two of three in Oakland from Aug. 19-21, which included the ending of a 19-game losing streak. Kansas City had gone winless in 15 straight road series since then.

Bautista, making his seventh start of the season and first career outing against Oakland, was trying to win for the first time since April 30, 2005, at Cleveland. The right-hander made only seven starts last year before going on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder.

A's starter Brad Halsey lasted only 42â3 innings, then Chad Gaudin pitched 21â3 scoreless innings of relief and was in position for the win until Street struggled.

In Halsey's last home start May 20, he allowed Barry Bonds' 714th home run that tied the San Francisco slugger with Babe Ruth for second place on baseball's career list - then Bonds passed Ruth on Sunday. Halsey is expected to return to the bullpen as soon as Sunday, when injured right-hander Rich Harden is slated to make his return from the disabled list against the Minnesota Twins.

Kansas City took a 4-0 lead in the first, getting four hits and batting around against Halsey.

Since May 19, the Royals had blown four leads of three or more runs in which they scored first. Bautista even had a 6-0 lead in his last outing, a 13-8 loss May 25 against the Detroit Tigers.

Oakland's Eric Chavez left the game after the fourth with a bruised left hand, then second baseman Mark Ellis left later with a jammed right thumb. Chavez went 0-for-2 to lose his seven-game hitting streak, while Ellis saw his hitless streak reach 12 at-bats.

Kansas City's Doug Mientkiewicz left with tightness in his left hip.

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