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Hocking's hit helps K.C. avoid becoming 1st to 100 losses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Denny Hocking had just 53 at-bats for
Kansas City since being called up from the minors on Aug. 6. He
came through when the Royals needed him Wednesday.

Hocking's two-run pinch single with two out in the ninth inning
gave Kansas City its first four-game sweep in six years with 4-3
victory against the Detroit Tigers.

"It's not a comfortable situation to be in," Hocking said.
"You've got one chance to go up there and succeed. It is like what
I try to tell all the guys that aren't playing that day that go
down and are preparing in the (indoor batting) cage from the fifth
inning on. I tell 'em, 'Someone in here is going to have a big
impact on the game.' Today was my turn."

Tigers reliever Fernando Rodney (1-3) gave up a leadoff single
to Matt Stairs in the ninth. Mark Teahen doubled with one out and
Angel Berroa was intentionally walked to load the bases with one
out.

After John Buck struck out, Hocking -- who at 35 is the
second-oldest Royals player -- batted for Andres Blanco and singled
on a 2-2 pitch.

"When you're an older guy on a younger team, you can lead by
example or you can lead verbally," Hocking said. "I lead enough
here verbally. I had a chance here to lead physically today, it
worked out in my favor. I was happy to get the opportunity and I
was ready. Today I had a chance to pick a lot of guys up by doing
something on the field. I think they appreciate that."

Kyle Snyder (1-3) pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the win,
giving up three hits and striking out four.

"That at-bat doesn't happen without the effort Kyle Snyder
threw out there today," Hocking said. "Mark Teahen that's a
routine ground ball for a single and he busts his tail out of the
box and gets two. My at-bat was created by those two guys early
on."

Snyder picked up his first victory since June 4, 2003, against
the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I went to my cut fastball quite a bit and it really helped
keep the hitters off stride," Snyder said.

Snyder gave up a double to Ivan Rodriguez, the first batter he
faced, to put runners on second and third with one out. Craig
Monroe hit a high chopper to Teahen at third base, who leaped and
threw him out at first base.

"Teahen's play won the ball game when he left his feet,"
Snyder said. "If that ball gets over his head or he doesn't field
it, we don't get Monroe out and both base runners score and it's a
totally different ball game."

The Royals again avoided becoming the first team in the majors
with 100 losses this season. Detroit dropped its seventh in a row
despite an impressive home run by Chris Shelton that bounced off a
sport utility vehicle. The shot was estimated at 449 feet, the
longest in Kansas City this year, and gave Detroit a 3-1 lead.

"No matter how far you hit it, it is just one home run and
nobody's on base, so it is just one run," Shelton said.

Kansas City has won six in a row at home, its best streak at
Kauffman Stadium since it went 11-0 to start the 2003 season. This
was the Royals' first four-game sweep since May 1999 at Minnesota,
and their first at home since August 1994 against Oakland.

The Tigers went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

"I just look back at the opportunities we had," Tigers manager
Alan Trammell said. "We had runners on first and second and nobody
out in the first and we didn't score. In the sixth after Shelton's
hit the home run, we had runners at second and third with one out
and didn't get anybody in. Going back those (lack of) runs hurt us.
They got it done and we didn't."

Aaron Guiel hit a solo home run in the Royals' third. Emil Brown
had a sacrifice fly in the sixth, giving him a team-leading 81
RBI.

Curtis Granderson led off the Tigers' third with a home run. He
has three homers, four doubles and eight RBI in his past 13 games.

Jason Johnson, who was sent back to the Tigers' team hotel on
Tuesday with a sore throat, gave up five hits, and two runs in six
innings. He failed to improve to 4-0 in five starts against the
Royals this season.

Royals lefty Jimmy Gobble, making his fourth start since being
moved into the rotation, allowed three runs on five hits over 5 1/3
innings.

Shelton's sacrifice fly in the third scored Placido Polanco, who
had tripled for one of his three hits.

Game notes
Detroit RF Magglio Ordonez snapped an 0-for-16 with a
sixth-inning single. ... The Tigers have 44 home runs in the past
31 games. ... RHP Runelvys Hernandez, who starts Thursday for the
Royals, is 0-3 in his past six starts. It will be his second start
since serving a 10-game suspension.