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Aviles leads Royals' rout of D-backs

Aviles leads Royals' rout

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PHOENIX -- Who were those guys in the gray uniforms? The Royals, you say? The lowest-scoring team in the Majors?

Mike Aviles ripped off four hits, including a home run, just a triple shy of the cycle.

John Buck hammered a three-run homer off legendary left-hander Randy Johnson.

David DeJesus hit a homer, Jose Guillen had two RBIs and, whew, the Royals socked the Arizona Diamondbacks, 12-3, on Saturday night with season highs in runs, hits (17) and extra-base hits (8).

Not only that, the beneficiary of this largesse was rookie right-hander Luke Hochevar, heretofore the most impoverished pitcher in the Majors with a miserable run support of 2.15 per nine innings.

Of all things, the run-challenged Royals had a laugher.

"I don't know if it was a laugher," Buck said. "I think it was a breath of fresh air."

Yeah, boys, take a whiff of that Arizona dry heat that bubbled to 105 degrees at game time. Fortunately for the players and 44,615 fans, the roof at Chase Field was closed and the in-house temperature was 80.

Just right for Aviles, who continued his bid for ownership of the shortstop position with a 4-for-5 burst, raising his average to .361 so far in his 10-game audition. He also scored four runs and knocked in two.

"It's definitely a whirlwind," Aviles said.

In his three at-bats against Johnson, he had two doubles and a single.

"He's still tough to hit, I can tell you that much," Aviles said. "You get in that box and he's very intimidating. He lets go of that ball and it's right by your face. He's definitely not a walk in the park."

Aviles followed DeJesus' leadoff homer in the sixth with one of his own against ex-Royals right-hander Billy Buckner. The back-to-back blasts were the first for the Royals since July 3, 2007, when Billy Butler and Jason LaRue connected against Seattle.

In the eighth, Aviles got one last at-bat. A triple would give him the rare cycle.

"I wasn't trying to hit one. It's physically impossible to try to hit a triple," he said. "I knew I needed it but, for me, winning the game was more important than hitting for a cycle. It's not that big a deal for me."

He flied out to center field. Oh, well.

The only real disappointment in Aviles' day was his throwing error in the third inning. He ranged far behind second base for Stephen Drew's grounder, whirled around and threw the ball past first base.

"I spun around so I could get my feet set, and the ball just went right out of my hand, like a wet frog," Aviles said.

That slip led to an unearned run off Hochevar, who weathered 10 hits by the Diamondbacks. He walked none in his seven innings and struck out six.

"Luke scattered 10, but he pitched out of a couple of small jams," manager Trey Hillman said.

Example: In the sixth, the D-backs had runners at the corners with no outs. Hochevar managed to strand both runners.

"Hoch stayed in it, the guys from the bullpen bore down and we played a complete game," Buck said.

Two newcomers from Triple-A Omaha finished up. Jeff Fulchino pitched a perfect eighth and Carlos Rosa, in his big league debut, worked a perfect ninth.

Johnson, a longtime Royals nemesis with a 15-7 record against them previously, was easy pickins this time.

"Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he left some balls in some very hittable spots," Hillman said.

Johnson's outing ended with Buck's three-run homer down the right-field line in the fifth inning.

"Any time you hit a ball off a Hall of Famer, you know you've got to appreciate that home run," Buck said.

Gosh. A future Hall of Famer knocked aside. All those runs. All those hits.

Who were those guys, anyway?

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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