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Guillen called for interference in ninth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Nobody on either team could remember a
game ending like this.

Second base umpire C.B. Bucknor called interference on Carlos
Guillen in the ninth inning, nullifying the tying run and giving
the Kansas City Royals a 4-3 victory Tuesday night over the Detroit
Tigers.

Detroit trailed 4-3 with runners at the corners and one out in
the ninth. Ivan Rodriguez hit a grounder to shortstop Angel Berroa,
who flipped to second baseman Desi Relaford for the force.

As Guillen came crashing in, Relaford threw to first, trying for
a game-saving double play. But Rodriguez beat the throw, allowing
Alex Sanchez to score the tying run from third.

Or so it seemed.

Right after first base umpire Chuck Meriwether called Rodriguez
safe on a close play, Bucknor signaled interference on Guillen and
an automatic double play, ending the game.

The Tigers argued, but manager Alan Trammell didn't have much to
say about Bucknor's call after the game.

"I'm really not going to get into that because I can't win,"
Trammell said. "To lose a game like that at the end, I'm not very
happy with."

Guillen clearly did not leave the basepath. But Bucknor said he
did not go into his slide until he was beyond the base.

"He slid way past the bag like a rolling block trying to break
up the double play," Bucknor said. "If he slides and he can touch
the bag, he's all right. He was still standing when he went in. I
was hoping I was very emphatic when I made the call. There wasn't
any doubt. The runner said he slid before the bag, but it was quite
obvious he was way past the bag."

Guillen was perplexed.

"Why do I have to slide before the bag?" he said. "I never
touched him. I never touched the ball. You could see it. If you
look at the replay, I never touched him."

But Relaford said Guillen "hit me somewhat."

"It's probably not a double-play ball, but you've still got to
try to turn it," Relaford said. "I was just trying to get rid of
the ball. He didn't slide. He just came in and tried to roll into
me."

Chris Shelton singled off Jeremy Affeldt leading off the ninth,
went to third on a one-out double by Sanchez and made it 4-3 on
Guillen's grounder to Relaford, whose throw to first bounced in the
dirt for an error.

Berroa hit a tiebreaking RBI triple in the seventh as Kansas
City snapped a four-game losing streak.

Berroa, who was 2-for-3 and is batting .382 lifetime against the
Tigers, connected off Mike Maroth (4-3) after Detroit scored two in
the top of the inning to tie it at 2.

Maroth, whose 21 losses last year led the league, gave up two
runs in the first but then held Kansas City scoreless until Matt
Stairs singled leading off the seventh, was sacrificed to second
and scored on Berroa's liner to left-center.

Ken Harvey was 3-for-4 with a solo home run off Danny Patterson
in the eighth.

Despite the victory, the Royals remain tied for the worst record
in franchise history after 42 games at 14-28. Before the game, the
players were told by general manager Allard Baird that changes
might be made if the team didn't reverse its slide during this
six-game homestand.

Jason Grimsley (2-1) got one out for the win. Affeldt got four
outs for his first save.

"It's a huge play by Desi," Harvey said. "If Desi doesn't
stay in right there, then we don't get the call. The fact he stayed
on the base and tried to make a double play out of nothing is what
got the call."

Kansas City rookie starter Jimmy Gobble took a two-hit shutout
and a 2-0 lead into the seventh when Craig Monroe singled leading
off and Bobby Higginson walked.

Brandon Inge's sacrifice moved the runners up. Then Shelton
lifted a deep fly to right for a sacrifice fly, and Sanchez singled
off Grimsley to make it 2-2.

Gobble gave up three hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings. It was
the fifth time in nine appearances the 22-year-old left-hander had
gone six or more innings and given up three or fewer earned runs.

Maroth went seven innings and gave up nine hits and three runs.

Berroa and Carlos Beltran each singled leading off the first for
the Royals and scored on sacrifice flies by Mike Sweeney and Joe
Randa.

Game notes
The Tigers had runners at first and third with two outs in
the eighth, but Relaford made a great play to preserve the lead,
diving behind the bag to stop Inge's grounder and flipping to
Berroa for the force. ... Zack Greinke, the Royals' highly touted
RHP who made his major league debut last Saturday in Oakland, was
so excited that he got to the stadium more than two hours early
Tuesday. Greinke, 20, will start Friday against Minnesota.