Eyes wide shut for Royals

Relief pitcher Peralta couldn’t watch his hit that broke the game open
Monday, May 21, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:12 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008
Royals converted shortstop Joel Peralta doubled in two runs in the 12th inning. The relief pitcher remembered to run the bases just in time to help the Royals finish their first winning road trip of the year.

DENVER — Reliever Joel Peralta couldn’t describe his first major league hit.

His eyes were closed.

Peralta, a converted shortstop, connected on a two-run double in a five-run 12th inning as the Kansas City Royals beat the Colorado Rockies 10-5 on Sunday.

In his excitement, Peralta almost forgot to start running around the bases after his double into the left-center field gap.

“I still don’t believe it,” said Peralta, who played shortstop early in his career as he came up with the Oakland A’s. “I don’t have any idea how it happened.”

Peralta (1-2) also pitched two scoreless innings for the win. He struck out Yorvit Torrealba looking for the final out, putting an end to a wild game.

The Royals took one-run leads into the ninth and 11th innings, only to see the Rockies tie it back up.

However, Colorado couldn’t come up with the clutch hit, stranding nine baserunners from the eighth inning on.

“This game was so crazy,” manager Buddy Bell said. “You don’t expect to get five in the 12th.”

Former Colorado player Ryan Shealy had the go-ahead hit in the 12th when his broken-bat single to right blooped into shallow right to bring home Alex Gordon.

Shealy had three hits and two RBIs against the Rockies, who traded him to the Royals last July.

Later in the 12th inning, Bell flashed the squeeze play sign to Angel Berroa, who laid down a perfect bunt to get Shealy home from third.

If only he would’ve known about Peralta’s hitting prowess.

“I would never have squeezed Berroa,” Bell said. “It shows you how smart I am. It was a fluke. I can’t explain the hitting of a pitcher.”

Manager Clint Hurdle can’t explain what has happened to reliever Ramon Ramirez, who gave up all five runs in the 12th. Ramirez (1-1) has surrendered eight runs in the last two days.

“He’s rushing his body,” Hurdle said. “He’s aware of it and it’s time to make an adjustment.”

The Royals finished the road trip 6-4 for their first winning tour of the season.

“I’m not surprised by the way we’ve played on this road trip,” said Mark Teahen, who had three hits, including a triple in the 11th, and drove in three runs. “I’m disappointed by the way we started the season.”

The Rockies still haven’t won a series at home since their opening series against Arizona. The team is at a loss to explain why.

“We’re battling and making games of it and we’re right there,” Jamey Carroll said. “It’s like we get to the top of that hump and we can’t get to the other side.”

Case in point: The Rockies had two runners on and none out in the 11th when Peralta came in. He struck out Garrett Atkins and got Brad Hawpe to hit into an inning-ending double play.

“We’re all frustrated,” Hurdle said. “They’re working and they’re battling and trying to get better.”

The Royals took a 5-4 lead in the 11th on Teahen’s two-out triple to right-center.

The Rockies, though, countered when Troy Tulowitzki started the inning off with a walk and scored the tying run after Emil Brown booted Matt Holliday’s single to left.

Holliday also forced extra innings when his single up the middle off closer Joakim Soria with two outs in the ninth brought in Finley with the tying run.

It was Soria’s third blown save of the season.

“We made it through (the game),” Bell said afterward.

Jason Hirsh went five innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter. Hirsh surrendered four runs and six hits and struck out three.

Hirsh picked up his first major league hit in the third. He was 0-for-31 with 20 strikeouts before his single.

Peralta wished he would’ve seen his hit. Next time, he plans to keep his eyes open.

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