CHICAGO, April 15 (UPI) -- The Kansas City Royals remained the hottest team in the American League by rallying for four runs in the ninth inning Tuesday night but the Chicago White Sox's latest loss, an 8-5 defeat, will be remembered for another disturbing fan incident.
Tuesday's game momentarily was halted after the eighth inning when a fan ran onto the field and attacked first base umpire Laz Diaz. Royals rightfielder Brandon Berger, who recorded the final out of the inning with a catch in foul territory, immediately ran to Diaz's aid.
By the time Berger arrived, Diaz had the assailant subdued. Teammates and Diaz's fellow umpires quickly arrived and held the fan until security arrived. The incident was similar to a game between the teams on Sept. 19, when a father and son attacked and injured then-Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa.
Gamboa was in the ballpark Tuesday night as the Royals bullpen coach.
"It's a very sad situation," said White Sox Manager Jerry Manuel. "It's a bad reflection on Chicago, at least on our side of town. Something has to be done about it. Hopefully in the future, this will not happen again."
"I was just making the catch and I looked up, and I saw the umpire getting tackled," said Berger. "My first instinct was, 'Oh no, not again.' When I got there, I got him off of Laz, but Laz turned to me and said, 'That's all right, I think I have things pretty well in hand myself.'"
"Chicago White Sox fans are going to have to look themselves in the face at some point and decide if they want to see a baseball game or just have fights all night," said Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney. "It's sick that it's happened to us two times in a row. Luckily, Berger saved the day from anyone else getting hurt."
Following the brief interruption, the Royals erased a 5-4 deficit against Chicago closer Billy Koch (1-1), who surrendered a two-run homer to Mike Sweeney and a two-run single to Berger.
"It seems to be someone different every night," Sweeney said. "It doesn't matter whether we're trailing or not. We feel somebody's going to do something to turn the game around. I guess tonight it was my turn."
The win was the 11th in its last 12 games for Kansas City.
After White Sox reliever Kelly Wunsch escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, Kansas City tied it at 4-4 in the eighth on an error by first baseman Paul Konerko.
Frank Thomas hit his second homer of the season leading off the bottom of the eighth against Albie Lopez to put the White Sox back on top, 5-4.
The Royals then staged their game-winning rally in the ninth.