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Royals build 5-0 lead then hold on vs. Rays in 6 1/2

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- This was exactly the sort of victory the
Kansas City Royals failed time after time to get for Tony Pena.

Clutch pitching from the bullpen. Good plays on defense. And
most of all, still-developing young players delivering key hits. It
all added up to a rain-shortened 7-5 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Thursday
night, Kansas City's first since Pena resigned as manager on
Tuesday night.

"I'm sure Tony will be happy for us when he hears we won
tonight," said 22-year-old second baseman Ruben Gotay, who had an
RBI single in the Royals' two-run sixth that made it 7-5. "All he
ever wanted was just for us to win."

After a 1-hour, 36-minute delay at the start, the game was
called with two outs in the top of the seventh following a
35-minute delay.

Emil Brown and John Buck each drove in two runs for Kansas City,
which blew a 5-0 lead. The Royals' 9-26 mark is still the worst in
the major leagues as well as their franchise-worst after 35 games.

"I just wanted the guys to be aggressive," said interim
manager Bob Schaefer, a candidate to replace Pena full-time. "I
was proud of the way they swung the bats and put some runs on the
board. It was fun to watch."

Rookie Mark Teahen's RBI double off Lance Carter (1-1) broke a
5-5 tie in the sixth and Gotay then singled as the Devil Rays lost
their seventh straight road game and the Royals snapped a six-game
home losing streak.

Mike Wood (2-2) got the win with 1 1-3 innings of hitless
relief.

"Any win is good, especially in our situation," said Buck, who
had been mired in a 2-for-25 slump. "We put ourselves in a
position to win and a couple of things finally went our way.
Hopefully this will be the end of all that losing and bad play and
we can go from here."

Brown, who was 7-for-30 in his previous 12 games and 0-for-11
with runners in scoring position, tripled, doubled and scored twice
as the Royals built a 5-0 lead after three innings.

He tripled off rookie Scott Kazmir in the second, scoring Matt Stairs with the first run. He added an RBI double off Kazmir in the third.

Terrence Long walked after Brown's triple and Buck's two-run
double made it 3-0.

Brown drove in a run in the fourth with a double and Long then
broke an 0-for-19 slide with an RBI single.

"We knew the rain was coming and we couldn't push across
another run," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "It's just bad
pitching. And this is not the only game. We've had a slew of
them."

The resignation of Pena, the AL Manager of the Year in 2003,
caught the players and team management by surprise.

"I was pretty close to Tony personally," Buck said. "It was a
tough thing. He meant a lot to me on and off the field. We haven't
been playing well for him and he took the brunt of it."

Nick Green's two-run single broke the Devil Rays' 0-for-20 skid
with the bases loaded and keyed a four-run fourth. Jose Lima loaded
the bases on two singles and a walk then walked Chris Singleton to
force in a run.

Green then singled to center for Tampa Bay's first hit with the
bases loaded since Julio Lugo's single on April 9 against Oakland.
Alex Sanchez's RBI single made it 5-4, then Jorge Cantu's RBI
double off Lima in the fifth tied the game between the major
leagues' two lowest payrolls at 5-5.

"The rain hurts," Green said. "We came back from a five-run
deficit and who says we couldn't get five more? I haven't been
hitting well, but tonight I got good pitches."

Carter went two innings and gave up two runs and three hits.

Lima, winless in eight starts, went 5 1-3 innings and gave up
five runs and seven hits.

Kazmir, who hasn't won since last Sept. 14, went four innings
and was charged with five runs.

Game notes

The Royals put RHP Kyle Snyder on the 15-day DL with a
strained right shoulder and called up RHP D.J. Carrasco and
scheduled him to start on Friday. ... Kazmir, who has made 15 major
league starts, hasn't won since beating the Red Sox 5-2 at Boston
last season. ... The Devil Rays dropped to 1-11 on the road.