Series: Game 1 of 3

Kansas City leads 1-0 (as of 8/16)

Game 1: Friday, August 16
Kansas City 6Final
Tampa Bay 5
Game 2: Saturday, August 17
Kansas City 7Final
in 12
Tampa Bay 3
Game 3: Sunday, August 18
Kansas City 6Final
Tampa Bay 8

Royals 6

(49-73, 17-44 away)

Devil Rays 5

(40-81, 24-39 home)

7:15 PM ET, August 16, 2002

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

123456789 R H E
KC 000102102 6 - -
TB 102010100 5 - -

W: R. Bukvich (1-0)

L: E. Yan (5-7)

S: R. Hernandez (20)

Ibanez's ninth-inning blast beats Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals needed late heroics for a rare road win.


Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning as the Royals rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-5 Friday night.

"We battled back, and that was the best part of the victory,'' Ibanez said. "I probably said seven prayers running down to first and begged that ball to stay fair.''

Ibanez hit his 19th homer on an 0-1 pitch off closer Esteban Yan (5-7). The drive hit near the top of the right-field pole.

"I hoped it would go foul, but it was still fair,'' said Yan, who has blown six of 21 save opportunities. "I made a bad pitch. I got beat.''

Ryan Bukvich (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth for his first career win. Roberto Hernandez got three outs for his 20th save in 27 opportunities

Kansas City hadn't recorded a save in 25 games since Hernandez closed the opener of a doubleheader against Cleveland on July 20.

The Royals are 17-44 on the road.

"A win is a win,'' Kansas City manager Tony Pena said. "I was concerned about my players being a little tired. It took about three or four innings to get ourselves going.''

Kansas City arrived in Florida around 4 a.m. after playing at home Thursday night.

Chuck Knoblauch led off the ninth for Kansas City with an infield single. Carlos Beltran hustled to beat out a potential double-play grounder and Mike Sweeney struck out before Ibanez hit the game-winning homer.

Carl Crawford homered and drove in three runs for the Devil Rays, who are 14-25 in one-run games and 22-39 in contests decided by two or fewer runs.

"All second division teams lose a lot of one-run games, and lose a lot of close games,'' Tampa Bay manager Hal McRae said. "That's the life of a second division team. It was that way when I played, and it remains that way.''

With the loss Tampa Bay (40-81) was guaranteed a fifth straight non-winning season.

Crawford hit the first pitch off reliever Scott Mullen for an RBI double in the seventh to put Tampa Bay up 5-4. He homered in the first and added a fifth-inning sacrifice fly.

Kansas City's Joe Randa picked up his 500th career RBI with a sacrifice fly.

Crawford put the Devil Rays up 1-0 with his second homer of his career. Both of his homers have come off Royals starter Shawn Sedlacek. The other came last Saturday in Kansas City when Sedlacek tied a team record by allowing four homers in a game.

Sedlacek, making his 11th career start, allowed five runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Jared Sandberg hit a two-run double in the third to put the Devil Rays ahead 3-0.

Kansas City got a run back one inning later on Randa's sacrifice fly.

Crawford made it 4-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Michael Tucker had a RBI grounder and Brent Mayne hit a run-scoring triple that got the Royals within 4-3 in the sixth.

Kansas City tied it at 4 on Ibanez's seventh-inning sacrifice fly off Jesus Colome.

Tampa Bay's Victor Zambrano gave up three runs and six hits in six innings of his third career start.

Game notes

Stephen Shepherd, 24, held up a sign saying "thanks for disrespecting the game'' from a third-base box seat just before the first pitch. The computer programmer from Winston-Salem N.C., who was attending his first game since the 1994 work stoppage, found out about the players' union setting an Aug. 30 strike date late in the afternoon. "I'm just tired of it all,'' Shepherd said. "They make enough money. There's no reason for this.'' ... Hernandez has nine 20 saves seasons, including eight straight. ... The Devil Rays are expecting a counter proposal from the agent representing 2002 first-round draft pick B.J. Upton by Saturday. The two sides are talking daily.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press