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Pena hits his second walkoff HR this season

9/14/2002

DETROIT (AP) -- Carlos Pena had welts on his forehead and a big smile on his face after he hit a two-run homer with one out in the 10th inning to lift the Detroit Tigers over the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Friday night.

"I got all beat up,'' Pena said of the celebration when he reached home plate. "But I'll take it every day if I have to.''

Pena's 18th homer gave reliever Eric Eckenstahler (1-0) his first major league victory.

"I got my first major league appearance and my first win this week,'' said Eckenstahler, who was called up from the minor leagues on Sept. 7. "It's been a very, very exciting week, to say the least.''

It was the second time this season Pena, who came to the Tigers in a July trade, has ended a game with a home run. He also performed the feat as a member of the Oakland Athletics, when his first major league homer gave Oakland a 3-2 win over Texas on April 2.

"That was really special, but this was awesome,'' Pena said.
"To win like that was a treat for us and a treat for the fans.''

Eckenstahler, the sixth Detroit pitcher, escaped a jam and
worked a scoreless 10th. Carlos Febles singled with one out and
Angel Berroa doubled, but Eckenstahler struck out Michael Tucker
and got Carlos Beltran on a fly ball.

"I threw two bad pitches,'' Eckenstahler said. "I started to get a little nervous, but I calmed myself down, threw a couple of good pitches and got out of the inning.''

Bobby Higginson singled to start the Tigers 10th. After Robert
Fick lined out, Pena connected off Scott Mullen (4-4).

"I felt fine,'' Mullen said. "I just made a bad pitch and that was it.''

The Tigers broke a scoreless tie in the third when George
Lombard doubled, went to third on a groundout and scored on a
sacrifice fly by Higginson.

Detroit made it 2-0 in the sixth when Higginson doubled, Fick
walked and Michael Rivera loaded the bases with a single. Higginson
then scored on a sacrifice fly by Eric Munson.

The Royals tied it in the seventh. Joe Randa and Aaron Guiel
singled to start the inning, and Brandon Berger hit an RBI double.
An RBI grounder by Febles tied it.

Detroit starter Nate Cornejo, in his first start since May 20,
pitched six scoreless innings before allowing three consecutive
hits to start the seventh inning. He allowed two runs and five
hits, with no walks and two strikeouts.

"He mixed up the pitches well,'' Kansas City catcher Brent Mayne said of Cornejo. "He kept us off balance and threw offspeed when he got behind in the count, all the things a pitcher does good when he throws good.''

Cornejo, part of the Tigers rotation before he was sent down,
was glad to be back in the majors.

"I've been looking forward to this for a long time,'' he said.
"I just want to finish strong.''

Kansas City starter Jeff Suppan went 6 1/3 innings and allowed
two runs on seven hits. It was his second consecutive no-decision
after eight consecutive losses.

"I feel like I'm giving the team a chance to win,'' Suppan
said. "That's always been my game plan as a starting pitcher. I
feel I'm starting to get back to that.I'm trying not to think about
(the eight consecutive losses). I'm trying to focus on pitch by
pitch, inning by inning, and just going out and giving it
everything I've got.''

Game notes
Kansas City's Raul Ibanez, injured during Thursday's game,
did not play Friday because of a strained ligament in his left
thumb. He may miss the four-game series. ... The Royals scratched
Dee Brown from the lineup just before gametime, inserting Berger in
his place. ... The start was Suppan's best outing since Aug. 2,
when he allowed two runs in seven inning during a loss at
Minnesota. ... Tigers hitters struck out only once, a season low,
and had their first multi-walk game since Sept. 3 at Cleveland. ...
Actor Jackie Chan threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the
game.