capped a five-run first with a two-run single and added a solo home run in the fourth inning to lead the Royals to a 7-3 victory over the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
A four-game losing streak knocked Kansas City out of first place in the American League Central for the first time since June 30. But a 6-2 victory here on Saturday, coupled with a loss by the
Chicago White Sox
, put the Royals back on top by one-half game.
They settled matters early on Sunday, banging six hits off Sosa (4-9) in the first inning.
led off with a single and raced to third on a single by
, who went to second on left fielder
's throw to third.
followed with a sacrifice fly.
"It was great to get off to that kind of start," Ibanez said.
Sosa then allowed three straight hits - a single by
, an RBI single by
and a run-scoring double by
. After intentionally walking
, Sosa yielded a two-run single to Matos, giving the Royals a 5-0 lead.
"We were out of it in the first inning," said
. "I talked to Sosa many times about the first inning. You just can't give up runs and expect to win if you start that way. It's a problem and a concern."
Matos, who is 6-for-12 with seven RBI against Tampa Bay this season, led off the fourth with his second home run of the season. Ibanez had a run-scoring single later in the inning off Gaudin to increase the lead to 7-0.
(7-4) pitched seven innings and allowed three runs and five hits to earn the win.
"I threw strikes, only had a couple of walks," said Hernandez, who walked two and struck out five. "The last two games I lost my control."
drove in all three of Tampa Bay's runs with a pair of doubles.
threw a pitch behind Guiel's back in the ninth inning. Guiel walked toward the mound, the benches emptied and both players were ejected.
"He (Colome) tried to hit somebody," said Royals manager
. "I know Lou tried to teach those kids to play hard, but if you keep this up someone is going to get hurt. I won't forget about this one. There was no question about it (that they threw at him)."
Piniella disagreed with Pena's assessment.
"I think he's just talking a little bit in the heat of the moment," Piniella said. "Tony's probably trying to use that as a rallying point for his team. It's a good ploy, give him credit for that."
Kansas City played without center fielder
, who was scratched from the lineup with a hyperextended left elbow. He is listed as day-to-day.
But Beltran's absence did not stop the Royals from knocking out Sosa in the first inning.
Gaudin replaced Sosa and retired eight straight batters until Matos hit his second homer of the season to lead off the fourth. Febles followed with a single and Guiel doubled. One out later, Ibanez singled home Febles to give the Royals a 7-0 lead.
Crawford and Huff doubled in the fourth and Huff doubled home two runs in the sixth.