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Yankees-Royals: Catchers Provide Pop as Kansas City Steals Game Three

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 10:  John Buck #14 of the Kansas City Royals bats against the New York Yankees on April 10, 2008 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
Sean KellermanCorrespondent IApril 13, 2009

Finally, some offense.

The Royals came through with some offense on Sunday, albeit from unlikely sources, as they used a three-run eighth inning rally to defeat the New York Yankees 6-4 in the final game of the first-ever series at the "new" Kauffman Stadium.

Royals righty Gil Meche cruised through the first six innings on the mound, before hitting a bump in the road in the Yankees half of the seventh. 

Yankees first baseman Nick Swisher and designated hitter Hideki Matsui led off the inning with a pair of singles, and outfielder Xavier Nady followed with an RBI double to left.  An error by Royals first baseman Mike Jacobs sent another run home for the Yankees, and a productive double-play ball by Melky Cabrera got the Yankees the 4-3 lead.

Meche, 0-0, 3.21 ERA, worked his way out of the inning and left the mound hoping that his offense would bail him out of a loss, despite the fact that his team had only scored eight runs in their first five games played.

The offense did its part.

With his team trailing 4-3 with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the eighth inning, Royals manager Trey Hillman opted to pinch hit 22-year-old prodigy Billy Butler.  Butler coaxed a walk, and was quickly pinch run for with Tony Pena, Jr.

That brought up former Atlanta Brave and Royals third-string catcher Brayan Pena, who hit right-handed against Yankees lefty Phil Coke.

Pena, a lifetime .227 hitter, drilled a Coke fastball deep into the left center field gap, chasing Pena, Jr. home and tying the game.

Pena's double was followed by an RBI single from little-used infielder Alberto Callaspo, which was followed by an RBI double down the left field line from backup catcher John Buck, who had three hits and three RBI in the game, including a solo home run.

It was business as usual for Royals closer Joakim Soria in the top of the ninth, as he calmly struck out the side in order, wrapping up his third save of the season.

Royals newly-acquired righty Juan Cruz took the win, throwing a scoreless eighth inning, while Coke suffered the loss.

The Royals look to improve their record to above .500 as they send right-hander Zack Greinke, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, to the mound to face the Indians at 7:10 p.m. Monday at Kauffman Stadium.  The Tribe will counter with Fausto Carmona, who is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA.

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