Wild comeback lifts Royals

By: By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
By: By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Mark Grudzielanek's run-scoring single in the ninth inning pushed the Royals over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 8-7, on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Tony Pena opened the ninth against reliever Shawn Camp with a single. Pena got to the third on a bunt and a groundout. Mark Teahen was intentionally walked, and Grudzielanek lined the game-winning single to right field.

The Royals had jumped ahead in the eighth after Tampa Bay relievers doled out five straight walks.

Right-hander Jay Witasick began the eighth with walks to David DeJesus, Esteban German and Teahen. Lefty Casey Fossum arrived and walked pinch-hitter Emil Brown and Alex Gordon to force in two runs for a 6-6 tie.

Camp relieved Fossum and Billy Butler lined a single to right, pushing the Royals ahead, 7-6. Camp then retired the side.

Closer Octavio Dotel had the Royals one out from victory, but Carl Crawford was safe on catcher's interference and stole second. Brendan Harris singled him home to tie the game at 7.

Gil Meche, the Royals' All-Star representative, worked six innings, but it was an uneven performance. He whizzed through three innings, then wobbled.

In the fourth inning, Meche walked four batters. That matched his high for any game this season. Predictably, the result was trouble.

The fourth walk, to Greg Norton, forced in the Devil Rays' first run. Delmon Young singled, Jonny Gomes hit a sacrifice fly and the Royals were behind, 3-1.

In the fifth, Akinori Iwamura doubled and Carlos Pena launched a two-run homer. In the sixth, Gomes homered to put the Rays up 6-4. And that was Meche's last inning.

Butler led off the Royals' fifth with a home run to center field, a 418-foot blast that was his third this season. The victim was Andy Sonnanstine, who pitched seven innings for the Rays.

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