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Gordon, Royals walk off with a win
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Alex Gordon began and ended Wednesday's game with RBIs.
Gordon homered while leading off the first inning, and he hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning as the Kansas City Royals beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 at Kauffman Stadium.
David Lough singled off Alex Wood (0-2) to start the 10th, and Miguel Tejada sacrificed him to second. Gordon drove a 1-1 pitch down the left field line to bring home the game-winner.
"We've got (Alcides Escobar) on deck and a lefty-lefty matchup and there's a base open, so I knew I had to be careful," Gordon said. "I was trying to stay open and got a base hit."
Royals manager Ned Yost said, "David Lough (had) a great at-bat to start off with the base hit, and Miggy with the bunt, and you've just got a good feeling about Alex. He started the game with a homer and ended it with a base hit. He's come up clutch in those situations for us and did it again tonight."
It was the Royals' 14th win in their final at-bat, tops in the American League. Kansas City is 6-1 in extra innings this year.
"I feel pretty good about leaving (Wood) in to face the lefties, and those guys beat him," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They executed the bunt. At the very least, he didn't walk anybody. He threw the ball over the plate and made them beat him."
Aaron Crow (4-3) pitched out of trouble in the top of the 10th, inducing a double-play grounder from Freddie Freeman after Jason Heyward singled to start the inning.
Luis Mendoza held the Braves scoreless until the seventh, leaving with two outs and two on. Pinch hitter Reed Johnson singled on the first pitch from reliever Bruce Chen to score Dan Uggla. After a walk to Jason Heyward, Luke Hochevar replaced Chen, and Justin Upton tied the game at 3 with a two-run single.
Braves catcher Gerald Laird said, "We battled back tough. We got it tied and had a chance to win. We were right there at the end and couldn't get the hit we needed to win it."
Mendoza worked 6 2/3 innings, surrendering two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out six.
"I felt good," Mendoza said. "I had command of my three pitches and got quick outs. It's just in the seventh inning, the hits, but it doesn't matter. All that matters is giving my team a chance to win."
"Phenomenal," Yost said of Mendoza. "He pitched great. He left the ballgame with a 3-0 lead, and we ended up giving three runs. It's a shame he couldn't take (get the) win because he deserved it."
Gonzalez said, "Mendoza was throwing big sinkers and sliders, and we kept pounding them into the ground. He pitched pretty well."
Braves starter Mike Minor pitched six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits with four strikeouts.
"He pitched a couple of innings that were stressful, but the last two innings might have been the best two innings he's thrown this year," Gonzalez said.
Minor said, "It's one of those things where they hit good pitches again. There were only two hard-hit balls, and I broke a couple of bats. ... There were just a number of pitches that were decent that they hit. Some of those balls just kept falling."
The Braves wound up with a split of the two-game set in their first-ever visit to Kansas City.
The Royals struck first with two first-inning runs.
Gordon led off with his team-leading seventh home run, his first to open a game since Aug. 11, 2012.
"He's got good stuff," Gordon said of Minor. "He gave me a hard time the first time I had to face him, throwing fastballs and cutters. He kind of left it middle-middle, and I got the bat on it."
With two outs, Butler doubled against Minor, then scored on Salvador Perez's hit to left.
In the third, Gordon led off with a single and moved to third on Alcides Escobar's base hit. With two outs, Butler singled to right, bringing in Gordon for a 3-0 lead.
Laird said of Minor, "Early on we wanted to make a pitch and made a mistake. He threw the ball really well, especially the last couple of innings and turned it into a pretty good start."
NOTES: After an off day, the Braves return home Friday to start a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Atlanta has won all seven three-game series it's played at home this season, going 18-3. The Braves have not lost a three-game home series since dropping two of three to Philadelphia from Aug. 31-Sept. 2 last year. ... While losing six of nine games entering play Wednesday, the Royals were batting .182 (14-for-77) with runners in scoring position. They batted .356 (31-for-87) with runners in scoring position while winning nine of 10 from June 5-14. ... At a luncheon Friday, Atlanta will induct Chipper Jones into the club's Hall of Fame. The Braves will retire his No. 10 jersey in a pregame ceremony that evening. ... Kansas City opens a four-game series against the Twins in Minnesota on Thursday.