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Devil Rays hit six home runs, pound Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Not even an bizarre triple play could
save the Kansas City Royals from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' home run
barrage.

The Royals turned a triple play with the help of an appeal in
the second inning, but could not overcome the Devil Rays, who hit
matched their club record with the six homers in an 8-2 win on
Sunday.

With Aubrey Huff on third and Rocco Baldelli on first, Russell
Branyan flied out to David DeJesus in shallow center. Huff came
home on the play. Baldelli attempted to take second on the throw
home, but was thrown out by pitcher Scott Elarton (1-8), who was
backing up the throw to the plate.

Angel Berroa tagged out Baldelli and then threw to Mark Teahen
at third base as the Royals claimed Huff had left early. Third base
umpire Bob Davidson agreed with the appeal and ruled Huff out.

"He (Huff) left a step early," Teahen said. "It wasn't even
close. He definitely left early."

Huff disagreed.

"I didn't realize that was a triple play," Huff said. "That's
how umimpressive that was. It's a joke. You've got to make sure, it
has to really be obvious. It cost Branyan a RBI."

It was the Royals' first triple play since April 3, 1996 at
Baltimore. It was the sixth triple play in Royals history.

"The triple play was the highlight my day," Elarton said.
"That's pretty sad. That's about the only good thing that happened
today."

Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon argued with Davidson, but to no
avail.

"Huff didn't do anything wrong," Maddon said. "He tagged
appropriately and did not leave early. That triple play totally
stands out because of the uniqueness. I can't imagine there has
ever been a triple play like that with that combination of numbers
(8-1-6-5 in the scorebook)."

Elarton gave up four runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings.

Carl Crawford and Jonny Gomes each hit two of Tampa Bay's six
home runs.

Crawford, who won back-to-back American League stolen base
titles in 2003-04, has hit seven home runs in his past 14 games. He
hit a two-run homer in the third and homered in the eighth for his
second career multihomer game. His first was May 26 at Boston.

"It's been a good two weeks," Crawford said.

So is Crawford a power-hitter or a speedster?

"I don't want to be considered anything but a ball player that
goes and tries to win," Crawford said. "I'm just trying to get
line drive base hits and not over swing and I ran into a couple of
today."

Gomes, who had just one homer in his past 21 games, ended his
drought with a solo shot in the second and seventh. After hitting a
Tampa Bay record 11 homers in April, Gomes had slumped.

"I had a good month and then a tough month," Gomes said. "It
is all part of having my swagger back, my confidence back."

Julio Lugo and Huff also homered for the Devil Rays.

The homers backed rookie James Shields (2-0), who extended his
scoreless streak to 12 consecutive innings.

The 25-year-old right-hander was making his third Major League
start and held the Royals to six hits in six innings. He walked one
and struck out five. Shields blanked the Los Angeles Angels on
seven hits over six innings in his previous start.

"It all starts with Shields," Gomes said. "He put on the best
show."

The Royals scored two runs in seventh off reliever Brian
Meadows. Mark Grudzielanek's single scored Berroa, while Paul Bako
scored on Doug Mientkiewicz's ground out.

Game notes
Royals RHP Zack Greinke is scheduled to make his third
rehab on Monday for Double-A Wichita at Tulsa. ... The Devil Rays
have 10 or more hits in three straight games for the first time
this season. Tampa Bay had a season-high 16 hits on Sunday. ... The
Royals acquired RHP Brandon Duckworth from the Pirates for cash
considerations. Duckworth was 8-3 with a 2.42 ERA for Indianapolis,
the Pirates' affiliate in the International League.