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Guiel's first big-league homer a game-winner

6/27/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Aaron Guiel spent 10 years in the minors
before getting called last weekend. If he keeps hitting the way he
did Wednesday night, he won't be going back down anytime soon.

Guiel hit his first major league homer, a three-run shot in the
seventh inning that lifted the Kansas City Royals over the Detroit
Tigers 6-5 Wednesday night.

"I have to be realistic,'' Guiel said. "You never know what's
going to happen in this game. My time may be limited here. I may be
here for a long time. I really don't know. I have to play as if I'm
going to stay here. What's to be is to be.

"I'm just excited to get this opportunity after the amount of
time I've played this game,'' he said.

Guiel's homer off Jamie Walker landed on the grass beyond the
right-field fence and put the Royals ahead 6-4.

"I thought it was a good matchup, lefty versus lefty,'' Tigers
manager Luis Pujols said. "He only had one hit before (Wednesday)
and it was a 2-2 count and he hits a 415-foot home run. What can I
do?''

Walker relieved rookie Adam Bernero (2-3) after he walked Brent
Mayne and Luis Alicea. Manager Tony Pena opted to let Guiel, who
was hitting .353 in the Pacific Coast League when he was promoted,
to bat against Walker.

"This kid has been swinging the bat real good in Omaha,'' Pena
said. "I just said I was going to let him go. Sometimes you have
to let a kid go see what they can do. He didn't hit .365 in Omaha
for nothing.''

Guiel looked over his shoulder to the dugout when Walker was
summoned from the bullpen to see if Pena was going to send up a
right-handed hitter.

"He gave me the nod to let me know I'm not coming out,'' Guiel
said. "He gave me confidence.''

Rain delayed the start of the game two hours and three minutes.

Damion Easley, who was mired in a 3-for-50 slump, homered and
singled for the Tigers.

Easley led off the fifth by hitting Darrell May's first pitch
over the left-field fence for his third home run.

A throwing error on shortstop Neifi Perez led to the Tigers
scoring an unearned run in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead. Ramon
Santiago, who had reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to third
and Damian Jackson to second on Perez' errant throw. Santiago
scored on Wendell Magee's sacrifice fly.

May gave up four runs, three earned, on eight hits and two walks
in 6 1-3 innings. He was replaced by Dan Reichert (3-5), who picked
up his first victory since May 18.

Brandon Inge and Craig Paquette hit consecutive doubles in the
Detroit eighth off Jason Grimsley.

Roberto Hernandez worked the ninth to pick up his 12th save in
14 chances.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second when former Royal Craig
Paquette doubled off the right-field wall and scored on Santiago's
two-out single.

Mike Sweeney extended his hitting streak to nine games with a
solo home run in the Royals fourth. He also doubled and singled to
raise his average to an AL-leading .364.

Joe Randa's sacrifice fly in the sixth scored Guiel, who led off
the inning with an infield single, to tie it at 3. Randa leads the
majors with nine sacrifice flies.

Game notes
2B Carlos Febles was a late scratch from the Royals' lineup
with a sore left leg. Luis Alicea replaced Febles and batted
leadoff for the second time this season. ... The Tigers have used
13 different players in the seventh slot in the batting order. ...
Easley made a diving catch of Perez' line drive in the second to
rob him of a hit with two runners on base.