Sweeney's double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning
gave the Royals a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the first
game of a doubleheader Tuesday. Kansas City scored three runs in
the first inning then had to rally to avoid its 100th loss of the
season for a second straight game.
"I was just looking for a good pitch to drive," Sweeney said.
"I was trying to get a pitch up that I could drive and I got lucky
and I hit it out to the gap to help our team win the game.
Mike MacDougal (4-5) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
The Royals took advantage of errors by Chris Shelton and Nook
Logan to score three runs, two unearned, in the first. Chip Ambres
led off and reached first on Shelton's fielding error at first
base. Ambres advanced to third on Terrence Long's single and scored
on Sweeney's sacrifice fly.
"Scoring three against [Mike] Maroth in that first inning, we
thought, `Oh man, we're on to something," Sweeney said. "And
they pretty much shut us down the rest of that way. To come up with
a walk-off win in the ninth, it was fun. We never quit, never die.
"We didn't have a huge crowd today, but the fans we do have we
want to put on a pretty good show so that next year when we're
winning we can fill the stadium up like the Chiefs do."
Tigers manager Alan Trammell pointed to the Royals' three-run
first as the major culprit.
"The first inning was the big inning," Trammell said. "Coming
out of the chute, we played real sloppy. Right out of the get-go,
we're losing, we don't play well. We can talk about other things,
but if we don't give up three runs in the first it's a different
type of game."
The Tigers tied it at 4 with a two-run fifth, chasing rookie
left-hander J.P. Howell. Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco and
Shelton started the inning with singles for the first run, and
Shawn Camp replaced Howell. Camp's wild pitch allowed Polanco to
score the second run of the inning.
Howell, who gave up four runs, six hits and three walks in four
innings, has allowed 10 runs and 13 hits in seven innings in his
past two starts, both no-decisions.
"I'm disappointed in the way I pitched," Howell said. "But at
the same time, it is one of those things, where I'm just going to
keep hanging in there. I can't really dwell on it. I have to
understand when I miss, it can't be by that much. I was missing by
too much. I was missing by five or six inches, instead of two or
three. Sweeney came through in the end for us."
Camp pitched three shutout innings, allowing two hits, before
being replaced by rookie left-hander Andrew Sisco to begin the
Maroth went seven innings, allowing four runs, two earned, and
eight hits. Chris Spurling replaced him in the eighth.
DH Dmitri Young was not in the Tigers' starting lineup for
the 13th straight game because of a left hamstring injury. He is
limited to pinch-hitting duties and singled in the ninth. When
Young gets on base, a pinch runner must be used. ... RHP Jason
Grilli made his Tigers debut in relief. It was exactly 30 years ago
that Grilli's dad, Steve, made his Detroit debut. ... Ambres batted
leadoff for the 11th time this season. ... Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez
caught his 1,806th game, tying Rick Ferrell for ninth in major