Devil Rays 9, Royals 5

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Carl Crawford hit a tiebreaking two-run triple to lead the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to an 9-5 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Jonny Gomes, Damon Hollins and Ty Wigginton homered for Tampa Bay, which has won seven consecutive games against the Royals dating to last season. The Devil Rays, at 7-6, are off to the second-best start in franchise history.

The Devil Rays scored three runs in the sixth to take the lead. Tomas Perez had an RBI single before Crawford drove in two with a triple off Steve Stemle (0-1) to make it 6-4. Wigginton hit a two-run drive in the seventh to extend the Tampa Bay lead to four.

Kansas City loaded the bases with one out against Scott Dunn in the eighth. Shawn Camp relieved and got David DeJesus to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Mark Teahen tripled and scored on Angel Berroa’s two-out single off reliever Brian Meadows (1-0) to give Kansas City a 4-3 lead in the sixth. The Royals have lost seven in a row.

Gomes’ two-run drive off Mark Redman in the first gave the Devil Rays an early lead but Shane Costa responded with a two-run homer in the second to tie it at 2.

Redman was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game after being sidelined by a left knee injury. He went five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.

Hollins hit a solo homer in the second to put Tampa Bay up 3-2. Kansas City drew even again on Paul Bako’s RBI single in the fourth.

Tampa Bay rookie Jason Hammel made his second career start filling in for the injured Mark Hendrickson, who is on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder tightness. He gave up three runs and four hits in five innings.

Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said before the game that Hendrickson may not be ready to pitch in an extended spring training game Monday as originally planned. Tampa Bay had hoped that the left-hander would rejoin the rotation next weekend.

Notes: Kansas City has walked 40 batters – including five Sunday – in the past six games. … The Royals placed RHP starter Denny Bautista on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right pectoral muscle. LHP Jeremy Affeldt will replace Bautista in Tuesday’s game at the Chicago White Sox. … The Devil Rays have hit 19 homers in 13 games.

AP-ES-04-16-06 1610EDT

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