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Archive for Monday, August 11, 2008

Pena delivers for K.C.

Reserve drives in game winner in 12th

August 11, 2008

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— Tony Pena Jr. has played sparingly since losing his starting shortstop job to rookie Mike Aviles in June, but he delivered in a big way Sunday.

Pena Jr. broke out of a slump at just the right time, driving in Mark Teahen with the winning run in the 12th inning to give the Kansas City Royals a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium.

Pena, who had only two at-bats in August, didn't enter the game until the eighth inning as a pinch runner.

He snapped an 0-for-17 drought with a one-out single in the 10th, then followed Teahen's double with another base hit in the 12th.

"That's the first time that (a walk-off hit) ever happened to me," Pena said. "That's just a great feeling. All the guys are on top of you, jumping on you and punching you. That's the only time I think when you get punched it doesn't hurt. This is definitely a confidence booster, especially having not played that much."

The Twins walked Jose Guillen intentionally to face Pena, who is hitting .157.

"I figured they were going to do that," Pena said. "He's a power hitter, so I just tried to make them pay and it worked out."

Pena's hits were his first since July 19, and it was his first multihit game since July 3.

"He was due," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "I knew he was at least going to get up there and battle. I think he might have half-expected I was going to pinch hit for him."

Robinson Tejeda (1-2) pitched a perfect inning to pick up the victory, while left-hander Craig Breslow (0-1) took the loss for the Twins.

The Royals snapped a four-game losing streak and won for only the second time in nine home games this season against the Twins, who dropped a half-game back of the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.

The Royals took advantage of two errors and a wild pitch to score three of their first four runs, and the Twins blew a 4-2 lead in the eighth.

"The easiest way to describe that game was we gave it away," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

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