KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Tony Pena Jr. has played sparingly since losing his starting shortstop job to rookie
in June, but he delivered in a big way Sunday.
Pena Jr. broke out of a slump at just the right time, driving in
with the winning run in the 12th inning to give the
Kansas City Royals
a 5-4 victory over the
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
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
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.''
(1-2) pitched a perfect inning to pick up the victory, while left-hander
(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 AL 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
said. ''Early in the game, late in the game, it was probably as bad a defense as you can play. The first two runs they got
was ridiculous - a chopper back to the mound and we're not covering first base.
''We missed opportunities to score, but still, if we catch the ball and get the outs we're supposed to get that's a 'W,' not
, who is 5-1 in his past 10 starts, held the Royals to seven hits and two runs, with one walk and seven strikeouts in seven
, who was 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his first four starts since the All-Star break, gave up four runs in 6 1-3 innings. While
he limited the Twins to five hits, he also walked seven batters, one shy of his career high.
The Twins took a 4-2 lead in the seventh on a run-scoring single by
and an RBI groundout by
The Royals took advantage of a wild pitch from
and Everett's throwing error to tie it in the eighth. Teahen, who led off the inning with an infield single, came home on
Reyes' wild pitch and Everett's error with two out allowed pinch runner Pena to score.
''I just threw it away,'' Everett said. ''You can slice it and dice it and word it anyway you want, but it cost us the game.
You know we got (closer Joe) Nathan coming in right there and you know how well he's done this year, so I'll take that one
for the team, for sure. It stinks, but that's the way it is.''
The Twins scored a pair of runs in the third inning, with Everett's single driving in
and Morneau's bases-loaded walk bringing in
The Royals grouped four singles in the sixth and took advantage of Baker's throwing error to score two runs. The errant toss
to first base with no one covering the bag on Teahen's single allowed
to score from first. Teahen went to third on the error and scored on Guillen's single.
''It was just one of those funny plays,'' Baker said. ''I went to throw to second and you know, I wasn't 100 percent sure
that we had him there, and then I go to first and really I probably should have just ran all the way. But Teahen runs pretty
well. I probably could have executed it a little better on my part, but it's just a case of 'there you are.'''
Teahen went 3-for-5 and scored three runs.
''The Twins pitch well, scratch out runs and play good defense,'' Teahen said. ''That's how they win games. Today they made
a few errors and the wild pitch and luckily we were able to do something with it when they made those mistakes.''
Notes: Twins 2B
struck out four times, matching a career high. He also struck out four times on July 21, 2006, at Cleveland. ... OF
was held from the Royals lineup with a sore hip.