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Royals' Ibanez finishes a single short of cycle

6/26/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Raul Ibanez never got a chance to hit
for the cycle.

Needing only a single, Ibanez was intentionally walked with first base open in the seventh inning of the Kansas City Royals' 8-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

Tigers manager Luis Pujols said earlier this week that he would have intentionally walked Florida's Luis Castillo in the ninth inning Saturday with Castillo's 35-game hitting streak on the line.

Pujols didn't let Ibanez go for history either, even though the crowd booed his decision.

"I have to do what I have to do,'' Pujols said. "I'm not trying to work in PR. That was the right move. I have to put him on. He's a left-handed hitter. He's swinging the bat good. I don't worry about that (fans' reaction).''

Ibanez matched his career high with four RBI for the second
time in three games to help the Royals rally from a four-run
deficit in the first game involving two Dominican managers.

There was a festive pregame ceremony honoring Pujols and Kansas City's Tony Pena, with Dominican President Hipolito Mejia and baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

Pena and Pujols, who were both catchers, took over as first-time
managers after the start of this season. Felipe Alou, the current
bench coach for the Tigers, was the only other Dominican-born
manager when he was at Montreal.

Ibanez homered with Joe Randa aboard in the fifth off reliever
Julio Santana (3-2) to break a 5-5 tie.

"I'm not really disappointed,'' Ibanez said of the intentional
walk. "I'm just concerned about winning the game. You want to hit
there, but if you don't so be it.''

Ibanez also drove in four runs Saturday against the New York Mets and has 16 RBI in his past 13 games.

"Raul has been swinging the bat real well lately,'' Pena said.
"I just hope he continues to swing a hot bat.''

Kansas City's Mike Sweeney went 3-for-4 with a home run and two
doubles to raise his batting average to .358, second in the
American League.

Tigers rookie starter Mike Maroth gave up five runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.

The Tigers staked Maroth to a 4-0 lead in the first inning,
which included back-to-back home runs by Robert Fick and Brandon
Inge and doubles by Wendell Magee and Randall Simon.

Royals starter Jeff Suppan (6-6) has allowed 20 home runs, the second highest total among AL pitchers, and picked up his first victory in a month. After the rocky start, he lasted seven innings and allowed just one run and four hits after the first.

Sweeney led off the Royals' three-run second with his 11th home run. Aaron Guiel's single, his first big-league hit, scored Randa and Ibanez, who had doubled, to cut the Tigers' lead to 4-3.

The Royals went ahead 5-4 in the third when Ibanez's triple
scored Carlos Beltran and Sweeney.

The Tigers evened the score at 5 in the fifth when Magee's sacrifice fly scored George Lombard, who led off the inning with a double.

Roberto Hernandez allowed one run in the ninth before getting his 11th save in 13 opportunities.

Game notes
Guiel, who spent 10 seasons in the minors, made his first
big league start after being promoted Saturday. He had been used
previously as a pinch-hitter twice and struck out both times. Gueil
became the 39th player used by the Royals this year. ...Tigers
starters lead the majors with eight complete games.