for this game

Buck, Royals use four-run eighth to beat Rangers

Aug 17, 2007 - 6:22 AM By John Tranchina PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) -- John Buck broke out of his slump in a big way.

Buck delivered a clutch three-run double in the eighth inning to help the Kansas City Royals avoid a series sweep against the Texas Rangers, 6-2, on Thursday night.

Buck, who entered the game in a 1-for-13 funk, drilled a line drive into the gap in right-center field with the bases loaded in the eighth off reliever Willie Eyre (4-6), capping Kansas City's four-run uprising.

"I've made some adjustments with (hitting coach Mike Barnett) and (Royals manager Buddy Bell) and quieted down a little bit, because teams are just junk-balling me to death," Buck said. "So we had to make an adjustment and finally starting to feel good."

"We couldn't use some of the guys we normally would," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We had to get someone else to step up. Willie got some ground balls for us that found holes and then left one up to Buck."

Alex Gordon drilled an 0-2 pitch into the Texas bullpen in right-center field off Rangers starter John Rheinecker to tie the game at 2-2 in the seventh. It was Gordon's 11th blast of the season, which is the second-most among American League rookies.

"Alex kind of got us going," Bell said. "It was nice to see Alex get us going and Johnny Buck, nice to see him get a big hit, get us some separation."

"That helped," Buck said. "Sometimes that's what it takes, to get that big hit to relax everybody. Sometimes that string of hits is such a big feat, and to be able to get one run with one swing helps out. That was a huge home run."

The Royals then went ahead an inning later, when Mark Grudzielanek scored from third on Mark Teahen's slow grounder to first, sliding head first under the tag from catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. After Joey Gathright's groundout advanced runners to second and third with two outs, Gordon was intentionally walked to load the bases to set up Buck's late-game heroics.

"(Grudzielanek) slid around the plate and made a good slide," Saltalamacchia said. "It is one of those plays I might have tried to go get it instead of letting it come to me."

"(Saltalamacchia) was trying to make sure he got the ball and Grudzielanek got by him," Washington said. "Grudzielanek made the play by being aggressive. We were inches away from getting out of the inning."

Kansas City's Ryan Braun (1-0) tossed 2 2/3 scoreless frames, allowing just two hits, for his first major league win in his 25th appearance.

"It definitely feels good. It took a little longer than I was hoping," Braun said. "I felt good today, I was able mainly to just get ahead a lot quicker than some other outings this year. I was able to give them some a swing at the first pitch and get some early outs, that always helps out. It was mainly just getting ahead."

"He's a kid with a good arm," Bell said. "Obviously, he has no real experience. We need to see more of him, we need to bring him in in situations like this, rather than mop-up situations, so we can see what he's got. Really, he was about as good as he could get. We needed it too."

Rheinecker allowed just two runs and six hits while walking three and striking out two in a season-high 7 1/3 innings. The lefthander delivered an impressive performance but for the fourth time in his last five outings got a no-decision.

"I'd like to take one pitch back, the one to Gordon," Rheinecker said. "I felt I should have gone deeper into the count with him. Other than that, I thought we were right on with our scouting report. I threw my change-up a lot. We'll keep going with that until they prove they can hit it."

"He was outstanding," Washington said. "He got us to the eighth inning and he was good. He pounded the strike zone, mixed up speeds and was getting outs."

The Royals opened the scoring in the first as David DeJesus walked and later scored on Billy Butler's RBI groundout to third.

But the Rangers got that run right back when Frank Catalanotto led off the bottom of the first with his ninth home run of the season, blasting an 0-1 pitch into the right field seats off starter Leo Nunez. Catalanotto has two leadoff homers in 11 days.

Making just his fourth major league start, Nunez settled down to retire seven of the next eight batters he faced. But the 24-year-old would not stick around to finish the game.

Immediately following the rain delay, Marlon Byrd lined a leadoff single that appeared to ricochet off the back of Nunez's right knee. The righthander left the game after giving up one run and four hits in just three-plus innings. It was later announced that Nunez came out because he tore a callous on his right thumb.

"It's a blister below his knuckle on his thumb, inside," Bell said. "He said it wasn't bothering him, but after the two pitches he threw to Wilkerson, it didn't look like he had a real good feel. And with Nunie, he's not going to tell you he wants out of there."

Texas took a 2-1 lead in the fifth off reliever John Bale, when Ian Kinsler's one-out single to right scored Saltalamacchia. The Rangers loaded the bases after that against Braun, who replaced Bale, but Byrd flew out to end the threat.

"That was huge for us," Buck said. "If (Braun) doesn't come out and pitch like that. He faced the good heart of their lineup a couple of times, so to get through that, that was a huge couple of innings and huge for our bullpen to go into the next series."

"That was a big situation right there, runners on, they ended up loading the bases," Braun said. "That was a fastball (to Byrd), he flew out. Then the offense came through with some big hits, Gordon with the big home run, and then Buck."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    KANSAS CITY 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 6 10 0
    TEXAS 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: KAN - LEO NUNEZ, JOHN BALE (4TH), RYAN BRAUN (5TH), ZACK GREINKE
    (8TH), JOAKIM SORIA (9TH) AND JOHN BUCK
    TEX - JOHN RHEINECKER, WILLIE EYRE (8TH), WES LITTLETON
    (9

    Aug 16 11:57 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOHN BUCK SCORED BILLY BUTLER, MARK TEAHEN AND
    ALEX GORDON.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, J BUCK ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 6
    TEXAS 2 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: T PENA JR (.270, 0-FOR-3)

    Royals vs. RangersAug 16 11:28 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY MARK TEAHEN SCORED MARK GRUDZIELANEK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEAHEN ON FIRST, B BUTLER ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 3
    TEXAS 2 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: E BROWN (.226, 0-FOR-3)

    Royals vs. RangersAug 16 11:22 PM
  • 10
    roots
    lacrosse4life Added 5 roots

    Royals vs. RangersAug 16 11:05 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ALEX GORDON (11) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF JOHN RHEINECKER.
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 2, TEXAS 2
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J BUCK (.227, 0-FOR-2)

    Royals vs. RangersAug 16 11:02 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY IAN KINSLER SCORED JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, I KINSLER ON FIRST, D MURPHY ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1
    TEXAS 2 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: M YOUNG (.305, 0-FOR-2)

    Royals vs. RangersAug 16 10:29 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY FRANK CATALANOTTO (9) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 1ST OFF LEO NUNEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1, TEXAS 1
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: I KINSLER (.255, 15 HR, 42 RBI)

    Royals vs. RangersAug 16 8:46 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    KANSAS CITY 1 1 1 0
    TEXAS 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: KAN - LEO NUNEZ
    TEX - JOHN RHEINECKER

    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: F CATALANOTTO (.248, 8 HR, 34 RBI)
    I KINSLER (.255, 15 HR, 42 RBI)
    M YOUNG (.306, 7 HR,

    Royals vs. RangersAug 16 8:44 PM
  • 5
    roots
    bbj9302 Added 5 roots

    Royals vs. RangersAug 16 11:19 AM