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King, Palmer Lead Hot Royals To Win

The Kansas City Royals are on a bit of a roll now, and manager Tony Muser is glad to be a part of it again.

Jeff King hit a two-run double and Dean Palmer homered as Kansas City beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3 Thursday night, the Royals' fifth win in seven games.

Muser was back in the dugout Thursday after serving an eight-game suspension for his part in the Royals' June 2 brawl with Anaheim. Coach Jamie Quirk was 4-4 as interim manager but finished the stint by winning two of three from both Detroit and Cleveland.

"I missed it," Muser said. "Win, lose or draw I missed it, and it was nice to get back out there and be with the boys."

King doubled in a three-run fifth inning that gave the Royals a 4-1 lead and ended Tigers left-hander Justin Thompson's second-shortest start of the season.

Pat Rapp (6-6), who lost to Detroit in his last start, gave up two runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. Jeff Montgomery pitched a one-hit ninth for his 13th save.

Rapp was in trouble virtually every inning, but the Tigers had 11 of their season-high 15 runners left on base with him on the mound.

"The first few innings I struggled big-time walking guys and getting behind in the count," said Rapp, who struck out three, walked four and hit a batter. "It was just a matter of hanging in there."

Thompson (5-7) lasted just 4 1-3 innings and allowed four runs and nine hits. He struck out three and walked none.

"There wasn't much difference between his fastball and change as far as movement goes," Tigers manager Buddy Bell said. "They have some veteran guys who understand hitting, and when you're up in the zone you don't have to use a lot of effort to get to the ball. Tonight he was up and easier to get to."

Thompson, who took complete-game road wins in his last two starts, is 0-5 with a 5.29 ERA at home.

"I couldn't spot (the fastball)," Thompson said. "I tried to trick them, but it didn't work."

The Royals rocked Thompson after the left-hander beat them 7-1 with a five-hitter last Saturday.

"I didn't see any (big difference)," King said. "We just got some hits off him tonight. A couple weren't the prettiest in the world."

King's double capped four straight hits in the fifth that broke a 1-1 tie and knocked out Thompson. Shane Mack had a run-scoring single before King doubled over center fielder Brian Hunter.

Paul Bako hit an RBI single off reliever Brian Bevil to cut Detroit's deficit to 4-2 in the seventh.

Palmer led off the eighth with his 15th homer, an opposite-field drive to the upper deck in right off Dean Crow.

Bobby Higginson's RBI single off Matt Whisenant finished the scoring in the eighth.

"We put some hits together and Rapp prsevered and we got out of some jams late, so it was a good evening," Muser said.

Detroit left seven runners in scoring position and had another thrown out at the plate.

"We just couldn't get the big hit when we needed it," Bell said. "We didn't need home runs, just a big hit. What's frustrating is that we had so many opportunities tonight."

The Tigers scored in unusual fashion to take a 1-0 lead in the third.

Luis Gonzalez hit a hard grounder to third that took a bad hop off Palmer, and Gonzalez hustled into second after the ball bounced into short left field. Gonzalez then scored all the way from second when Rapp threw a wild pitch that bounced off catcher Sal Fasano and rolled to the Royals' dugout.

Palmer's RBI single was the last of three straight hits that gave the Royals a 1-1 tie in the fourth.

Notes: Thompson's shortest start lasted only four innings April 17 in an 11-2 loss to the Yankees. ... The Royals have signed right-handed pitcher Matt Burch of Virginia Commonwealth, their second first-round pick in the June draft. Kansas City took Burch with the 30th pick, which they obtained from Arizona when the Diamondbacks signed Jay Bell. ... Tigers right-hander A.J. Sager, designated for assignment Monday, has cleared major league waivers and accepted assignment to Triple-A Toledo. ... Palmer's overthrow to first on Damion Easley's third-inning grounder was his 18th error of the season.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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