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Royals win fifth in a row behind Tomko

Royals win fifth in a row behind Tomko

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MIAMI -- Joakim Soria's pristine pitching record was finally marred but everything worked out anyway.

Soria gave up a two-run homer in the ninth inning and yet he and the Royals survived, winning, 7-6, over the Florida Marlins on Friday night. The Royals extended their winning streak to five games and came within one victory of the .500 mark.

The Royals got three hits and two RBIs from Jose Guillen. Miguel Olivo smacked a two-run homer and starting pitcher Brett Tomko got his first victory since April 6.

"It's important that we got the win," Soria said. "And I got the save."

The Royals had a 7-4 lead when Soria entered the game. With one out, he walked Cody Ross and Jeremy Hermida blasted an 0-2 pitch to center field and the gap was cut to one.

"Nobody's perfect, you know," catcher Olivo said. "They hit a home run with his best pitch, a breaking ball. And he left it hanging up."

Soria, who had pitched 16 2/3 scoreless innings to start the season, wasn't surprised to see his 0.00 ERA vanish.

"It was coming one day," he said. "Someday, somebody was going to hit. It's OK. It's no big deal."

What mattered was that he struck out the next two batters, Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu, on the same breaking ball that Hermida hit out of the park. The save was Soria's 11th in 11 chances.

Guillen, playing left field after his ailing right hip was deemed OK, smacked a two-run single in the first inning, doubled to start the Royals' two-run fourth and singled in the fifth inning.

"That's the guy we signed and he's done a great job," manager Trey Hillman said. "For him to go up there and be able to do that. ...Everybody knows he's not at full strength but, at the plate he is."

That gave Guillen an eight-game hitting streak in which he's 16-for-30 (.533) with nine RBIs.

"We won," he said. "That's all that matters. They have a great offensive team over there."

Dan Uggla demonstrated some of the Marlins' muscle with a solo shot, No. 13, against Tomko in the second. Doubles by Uggla and Matt Treanor scored a two-out run in the fourth.

In the latter case, Tomko confessed to a mind-blip.

"I got so in the American League mode, I forgot the pitcher was on deck," Tomko said. "And I probably would have had a little better pitch selection to Treanor with the pitcher coming up."

That's right, pitchers bat in National League parks. And of course, when Andrew Miller walked up he just watched as Tomko threw strike three past him.

Oh, well, that was all Tomko gave up in his six innings and, although the bullpen had a rare wobble, he earned his first victory since his first start at Minnesota. After that, he'd gone six games without a win.

"It's nice to get on the 'W' side and get back on track," Tomko said.

The 4-2 lead was boosted to 6-2 when Olivo, returning to his home of the prior two years, followed Billy Butler's double with a 423-foot blast against reliever Justin Miller.

"I just saw a fastball," Olivo said. "I was looking for a slider -- he usually throws me a slider when I face him. But he threw me fastballs back-to-back. One I missed and he came back with a fastball in and I hit it."

Trouble rose in the Marlins' eighth when reliever Ramon Ramirez walked two batters. Jimmy Gobble replaced him and gave up a two-out, two-run double to Wes Helms. Hillman switched to his other left-handed reliever, Ron Mahay, who got Treanor on one pitch to end the inning.

"Jimmy left the ball up to Helms and made it interesting," Hillman said. "Ronny has a little different pitch repertoire and I just didn't feel like Jimmy was going to have the confidence and be able to locate as well as Ronny in that situation after what Wes Helms had just done."

In the Royals' ninth, two walks and Alex Gordon's RBI single netted a three-run lead. The Royals, as it turned out, needed all of that.

On their first visit to Dolphin Stadium, the Royals had dealt the Marlins their fourth straight loss. And they won their fifth straight, a season high.

"All I know is we've been playing great baseball," Guillen said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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