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Must C Clutch: Royals hit three homers in the 14th

ARLINGTON -- The Royals are always willing to give something extra. How about three home runs, by Melky Cabrera, Eric Hosmer and Brayan Pena, all in the 14th inning? Or how about 11 1/3 scoreless innings by the bullpen?

Those three blasts off Texas right-hander Dave Bush enabled the Royals to pull out a 12-7 victory over the Rangers as 39,390 fans watched, probably in slight disbelief, on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark. The 14-inning win snapped the Royals' five-game skid.

All that extra action came about because Alex Gordon crashed a game-tying home run off Rangers closer Neftali Feliz in the ninth inning.

But one of the home-run smashers made an important point.

"Our true heroes today were the bullpen guys," Pena said. "Thanks to them, we were able to come up with a victory."

True enough. The Royals got 4 1/3 strong shutout innings from newcomer Felipe Paulino. That was followed by scoreless work by Everett Teaford, Tim Collins, Louis Coleman, Blake Wood and Joakim Soria.

"The bullpen was spectacular. To go 12 scoreless innings in that ballgame was spectacular," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

This was the Royals' 12th extra-inning game, matching Oakland for the most in the Major Leagues, and they are 6-6 in those games. This was Kansas City's fifth extra-inning game in the last nine and was its longest of the season, both in innings (14) and time (4:36).

The resolution came suddenly and savagely after Bush began the 14th by striking out Gordon.

Cabrera smashed a one-out blast over the left-center field wall just out of leaping center fielder Craig Gentry's clutches to break a 7-7 tie.

"I saw the ball and I thought he caught it. I said, 'Oh, no!'" Cabrera said.

Hosmer followed with a smash to the center-field grass, the Royals' first back-to-back homers this season.

After Billy Butler singled and Wilson Betemit walked, Pena also homered to center field for a five-run outburst. It marked the Royals' first three-homer inning since the 11th on Sept. 29, 2006, at Detroit in a 9-7 win.

Gordon's home-run shot into the right-field upper deck pulled the Royals into a 7-7 tie with one out in the ninth inning. The Royals had trailed, 7-6, since the second inning, but Gordon pulled a 1-2 pitch from Feliz and sent it on a 423-foot ride.

"Gordon got him," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "That pitch hit 99 miles per hour. He earned it."

The Royals got a real scare in the 11th after Coleman walked Adrian Beltre. First baseman Hosmer missed Nelson Cruz's wind-blown foul pop-up and gave him a second chance.

"I'm pretty sure there was about an 80 mile an hour wind that picked up as soon as I was under the ball," Hosmer said. "It carried it all the way back in."

On Coleman's next pitch, Cruz cranked a drive that looked certain to carry over the left-field wall. But it didn't get the usual help from the Ballpark's jet stream and it settled into Gordon's glove for the third out.

"I thought that was the game, I thought that ball was gone," Yost said. "But the wind was funny tonight. I've never seen a ball do what it did to Hosmer. It was like it was in a wind tunnel."

Nate Adcock, in his first Major League start, pitched five shutout innings against the Cardinals. Not this time in his second start. In fact, the Rangers pounded him for five runs in the first inning alone as Ian Kinsler and David Murphy each hit homers.

That put a damper on the Royals' hot start against right-hander Colby Lewis. They started out with three straight doubles, by Gordon, Cabrera and Hosmer, for two runs and Betemit's bloop single knocked in a third run.

The early flurry wasn't over. The Royals went back on top in the second inning when Hosmer's two-run single and Butler's RBI single gave them a 6-5 lead.

Didn't last, though, because the Rangers countered with two more runs off Adcock with right fielder Jeff Francoeur's wild throw into the stands behind third base contributing.

Then, in the third inning, Paulino was summoned and got the third out to start the march of 11 1/3 scoreless innings by the relief corps.

"It seems like every game we play goes 12," Hosmer said.

Yep, once again the Royals came up with something extra. This time, though, it was extra special. Comments