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.
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.