Royals 17, Phillies 5

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—The next-to-worst offense in the American League had hungered for this all year—a rout, a laugher, a runaway win where everybody feels great.

Kansas City’s 17-5 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday was so good, in fact, manager Buddy Bell figured it could hardly get much better.

“We hit some home runs and got some key hits, got bunts down,” Bell said. “We had a really good day baserunning. We did just about everything perfect offensively.”

Nobody had a better time than Mark Grudzielanek, who homered, doubled and singled and drove in five runs in KC’s biggest run output in almost two years.

“It’s been frustrating all year offensively. Hopefully, this can trigger a groove going,” Grudzielanek said.

Hitting only .249—17 points below the league average—the Royals were 13th among 14 AL teams in runs and RBIs when they teed off against five Phillies pitchers. Exacting a tiny bit of revenge for the 1980 World Series, they took two of the three interleague games in Philadelphia’s first visit to Kansas City since beating the Royals in that Fall Classic.

“It’s always nice when you do well, but it’s always nice at the end of the game when you’re shaking hands with your teammates, especially when you’re kind of up and down,” Grudzielanek said. “We had a lot of good days from a lot of guys.”

Grudzielanek hit a two-run homer off Phillies starter Jamie Moyer for a 4-2 lead in the third. Then in the sixth, after Ryan Howard’s home run had pulled the Phillies to within a run, Grudzielanek poked a two-run single into right field off Ryan Madson to make it 8-5.

Grudzielanek also doubled home a run in the first as the Royals scored the most runs the Phillies had allowed since a 17-3 loss at Houston on May 13, 2002.

“I didn’t throw the ball very well at all,” said Moyer (5-5). “I made a lot of mistakes in the middle of the plate. I got behind hitters, I walked a couple. It’s frustrating.”

For many people in the Kansas City area, the Royals lent a special meaning to the game far beyond a lopsided win.

The players and coaches all wore a thin blue ribbon around their wrist in honor of Kelsey Smith, the 18-year-old whose abduction and slaying on June 2 touched this community and made national headlines.

Bell met privately with some members of the Smith family Sunday morning and then gave the ribbons to team captain Mike Sweeney to distribute to the team.

Smith was abducted from a suburban parking lot and her body was found a few days later in a park across the state line in Missouri. A man has been arrested and charged in the case.

Bell appeared to become emotional when asked about the ribbons, and declined comment.

“That’s a personal issue,” he said.

Zack Greinke (3-2) got the victory with two innings of one-hit, five-strikeout relief. The right-hander struck out the side on 14 pitches in the seventh.

“When it was 6-5, I thought we had a chance to win,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “That’s why I brought Madson in so early. Greinke closed the gate. He turned the game completely around.”

Moyer gave up six runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings. Tony Pena Jr. also homered off the veteran lefty, who dropped to 14-9 lifetime against the Royals in his 29th start against them.

Howard, whose 58 homers last year led the majors, had struck out five times in a row before hitting a two-run homer off Brandon Duckworth in the fifth. It was his 12th homer of the year and second in three days for last year’s NL MVP.

Carlos Ruiz doubled home the Phillies’ first run in the second and Shane Victorino homered leading off the third against starter Jorge De La Rosa. Jimmy Rollins had an RBI double in the fourth.

Jose Mesa made his debut with Philadelphia in the sixth and gave up two runs on wild pitches while Alex Gordon was at the plate. The Phillies’ career saves leader was released earlier this year by Detroit and signed with the Phillies on Friday.

De La Rosa lasted only 3 2-3 innings and gave up three runs and five hits, with four strikeouts and four walks.

The Royals added two in the eighth off Geoff Geary.

Notes

About 50 youngsters from Greensburg, Kan., the little town that was destroyed by a massive tornado last month, were guests of the Royals. … De La Rosa threw 93 pitches in his short outing. … Pena’s previous homer before Sunday was Aug. 26, 2006. He had an interesting line—two at-bats, two hits, two runs, two RBIs, two sacrifice bunts and a sacrifice fly. … Grudzielanek also drove in five runs for St. Louis against Milwaukee on Aug. 8, 2005. … After sweeping the New York Mets three straight, the Phillies finished the six-game road trip 4-2.

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