Kansas City, Mo. Temperatures dipped into the 30s during the latter stages of Wednesday night's Royals-Orioles game.
"Just like Candlestick Park, if you've ever been there," said former National League reliever Mark Davis, now the Royals' bullpen ace.
Davis started paying dividends on his four-year, $13 million Kansas City contract by pitching a perfect ninth inning and recording his first save in the Royals' 2-1 win at windy, chilly Royals Stadium.
Davis, taking over for starter Mark Gubicza and middle relievers Steve Crawford, Larry McWilliams and Jeff Montgomery, opened the ninth by retiring Bill Ripken on a smash to short. Kurt Stillwell gloved the shot up the middle, then fired to George Brett for the out.
After that it was easy.
THE LEFTY retired Phil Bradley on a fly to right field, then struck out pinch hitter Stan Jefferson, evening the Royals' record at 1-1 entering tonight's series finale.
"From what I've heard that is what they want me to do," last year's NL Cy Young Award winner said, referring to pitching just one inning per game.
He saved 44 games last year for the San Diego Padres.
"It was a little more of an exciting time tonight," said Davis, happy to get his first AL save out of the way. "I'm glad it worked out well. Kurt made a great play. I'm very happy I was able to get some outs. We're all happy we got our first win of the year. The bottom line is winning games."
Winning pitcher was starter Gubicza, who allowed three hits and a run in five innings. He struck out four and walked five before giving way to Crawford to start the sixth.
GUBICZA, WHO was bothered by a right shoulder strain at the end of last season, was a bit worried about pitching in cold weather.
The righty was SO worried he wore a long-sleeve sweatshirt under his uniform.
"The last time I wore one was high school," said Gubicza. "I figured I owed it to my teammates, myself and the Royals not to take any chances, to take every precaution to keep my arm as warm as possible."
Gubicza allowed Baltimores only run in teh first when he walked Steve Finley and Cal Ripken and Randy Milligan singled.
"My arm felt really good warming up. It's only the third time I've been out there," he said, noting that he pitched just 6 innings during two appearances in Florida. "You wonder, `Geez when it's this cold, how is it going to feel?'"
MANAGER JOHN Wathan, criticized for use of his bullpen in Monday's 7-6 Opening Day loss, made all the right moves Wednesday.
"I was a little smarter tonight I guess," said Wathan. "Maybe I needed another week of spring training, too."
Kansas City managed eight hits off three Oriole pitchers. Jeff Ballard, winner of 18 games a year ago, allowed two runs on six hits in 4 innings.
A two-run fifth inning rally was enough. Willie Wilson, playing in place of the injured Danny Tartabull, ripped a one-out double and took third on a grounder to the right side by Frank White. Bob Boone walked. Newcomer Gerald Perry then rapped an RBI single. Kevin Seitzer, 0-for-8 on the year, then belted a single to right, scoring the winning run.
Seitzer is a hard-luck 1-for-10 on the year.
"I could easily have eight hits now," said Seitzer. "It's a little frustrating. I can't hit the ball any harder than the last two games."