Series: Game 1 of 3

Kansas City leads 1-0 (as of 9/20)

Game 1: Monday, September 20
Kansas City6Final
Tampa Bay3
Game 2: Tuesday, September 21
Kansas City4Final
Tampa Bay7
Game 3: Wednesday, September 22
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in 10
Tampa Bay6

Royals 6

(55-94, 23-53 away)

Devil Rays 3

(63-85, 36-35 home)

    7:15 PM ET, September 20, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 021000021 6 9 1
    TB 200010000 3 8 2

    W: B. Anderson (5-11)

    L: J. Sosa (4-5)

    S: J. Affeldt (12)

    Anderson wins his third straight decision

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Calvin Pickering had the perfect solution after tweaking his left hamstring during a key at-bat.

    He homered on the next pitch.

    Pickering hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning Monday night to help the Kansas City Royals defeat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-3.

    "When I took the swing, it cramped up," Pickering said. "On the next pitch I hit the ball, but I wasn't even worrying about where the ball was going. I didn't even know where it was at. Then I looked up and saw everybody running. I'm happy with the result."

    Pickering's opposite-field drive off Jorge Sosa (4-5) put the Royals up 5-3. He was booed by some fans unaware of the injury as he trotted slowly around the bases.

    Brian Anderson (5-11) allowed three runs and seven hits over 7 2-3 innings to win his third straight decision. Shawn Camp got the final out in the eighth and Jeremy Affeldt pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 15 opportunities.

    "I had a pretty good sinker tonight," Anderson said. "Just worked the extremes of the plate, in and out, and changed speeds."

    Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford homered for Tampa Bay, which has lost 17 of 21.

    David DeJesus made it 6-3 in the ninth inning when he hit a double and scored on a two-base throwing error. Crawford fielded the ball off the left-field wall and attempted a throw to second base, but the ball squirted out of his hand into center field. DeJesus came all the way around, beating Rocco Baldelli's throw to the plate.

    "You can say it slipped ... I don't know what to say," Crawford said. "You might not never see me do that again ... hopefully."

    Crawford has made just two errors in 140 games this year.

    "We saw a little bit of everything," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "It wasn't a very good game."

    Tampa Bay led 2-0 after one inning on Huff's two-run shot. He needs two more RBI to become just the second Tampa Bay player to drive in at least 100 runs in consecutive seasons.

    The Royals tied it at 2 in second on an RBI double by Pickering and Alexis Gomez's run-scoring single.

    John Buck gave Kansas City a 3-2 lead with a third-inning sacrifice fly. The rookie catcher has 10 RBI over his last seven games.

    Tampa Bay drew even at 3-all when Crawford homered in the fifth.

    Devil Rays right-hander Dewon Brazelton gave up three runs and six hits over six innings. He is winless in his last five starts.

    Game notes

    Crawford leaped into the wall earlier in the game attempting to take away a double from Joe Randa and had his right shoulder iced after the game. "Any little thing is going to aggravate it a little bit, but as far as making me sit out again, it's not that bad," Crawford said. ... Pickering's homer was his first in 15 games. He had hit four homers in eight games before the drought. ... The announced crowd of 8,315 was the smallest this season at Tropicana Field. ... Anderson has given up 27 homers in 150 innings this season. ... Devil Rays SS Julio Lugo misplayed Angel Berroa's grounder in the first for his sixth error in his last six games. ... Pickering did not strike out for the first time in 22 games. ... Fred McGriff was the last Devil Ray with consecutive 100 RBI seasons in 1999-2000.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press