Series: Game 2 of 2

Kansas City won 2-0

Game 1: Wednesday, July 17
Chicago 6Final
Kansas City 8
Game 2: Thursday, July 18
Chicago 3Final
Kansas City 5

White Sox 3

(45-52, 19-31 away)

Royals 5

(40-54, 26-21 home)

    2:05 PM ET, July 18, 2002

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    CWS 120000000 3 - -
    KC 100010003 5 - -

    W: P. Byrd (13-6)

    L: D. Marte (1-1)

    Royals erase ninth-inning deficit

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- With the game tied at 3 in the bottom of the ninth, Kansas City manager Tony Pena wanted Michael Tucker to bunt.

    But bench coach Bob Scheafer talked him into changing his mind, and the switch helped the Kansas City Royals to their longest winning streak in seven years.

    Tucker hit a two-run homer off Damaso Marte to cap a three-run rally in the ninth inning as the Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 for their seventh straight victory.

    "Scheafer was next to me,'' Pena said. "He turned to me and said, `I got a hunch. I want him to hit.' Then when he got the hit, I jumped like a little kid. It was great.''

    It was the third homer in three games for Tucker, who has been struggling most of the year and became a favorite target of fan criticism.

    "I was just thinking about getting a hit, and he left one right over the plate,'' Tucker said. "To play nine innings and be able to end it with a home run is great.''

    Kansas City, which hadn't won seven straight since June 10-16, 1995, trailed 3-2 before Carlos Beltran homered leading off the ninth against Mark Buehrle, who allowed five hits in the first eight innings.

    Marte (1-1) relieved and gave up a single to Raul Ibanez ahead of Tucker's homer.

    Paul Byrd (13-6) tied Derek Lowe for the AL lead in wins, allowing 10 hits in his third complete game of the season. Byrd kept the White Sox from scoring in the fifth after they advanced runners to second and third with no outs. He retired the last 15 batters, finishing with three strikeouts and no walks.

    "I think we all felt relief when Buehrle walked off the mound,'' Byrd said. "I want no part of that guy. He throws strikes. He doesn't mess around.''

    The White Sox have lost six of their last seven and 10 of 14.

    "It's just a tough loss, no doubt about it,'' manager Jerry Manuel said. "We probably shot ourselves in the foot when we had second and third with nobody out and didn't score. Then the momentum swung. It's a tough loss. We have endured many this season. This ranks up there among the toughest.''

    Kenny Lofton put Chicago ahead in the first with his 99th career homer, his 22nd leading off a game.

    Ibanez, tied his career high with 54 RBI when he hit a run-scoring double in the bottom half of the first.

    Royce Clayton hit a two-run double in the third, but Brandon Berger's fifth-inning homer pulled the Royals to within a run.

    Kansas City right fielder Aaron Guiel mishandled a ball hit by Paul Konerko, then made a spectacular play on him. He let Konerko's deep fly drop in front of him for a ground-rule double in the third, then made a diving catch on a shallow fly in the eighth.

    "We ran into a hot team and it seemed like everything is going right for them,'' Buehrle said. "It's very frustrating.''

    Game notes

    Kansas City 1B Mike Sweeney missed his sixth straight game with stiffness in his lower back. ... The White Sox have homered in 19 of their last 22 games. ... Lofton hadn't led off with a homer since last Sept. 18 against the Royals.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press