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Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2000

Kansas City survives Twins’ rally

Royals 8, Twins 7

August 31, 2000

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— With 30 games remaining, hardly anything seems safe in the Kansas City record book.

Mike Sweeney hit a three-run double to give him 121 RBIs, second most in Royals history, and Kansas City held on to beat the Minnesota Twins, 8-7, Wednesday in 100-degree heat.

When: 6:15 tonight. Where: Tropicana Field. TV: None. Pitchers: Jeff Suppan (7-7) v. Paul Wilson (0-2). KC record: 62-70 (161/2 back).

"He's an RBI addict," said Royals manager Tony Muser. "He just has an uncanny ability to put the ball in play in RBI situations.

"He can hit soft stuff. He can hit hard stuff. He can hit the changeup. He can stay back on the breaking ball. He can put all different types of pitches in play in different parts of the strike zone."

Sweeney isn't the only Royal closing in on a franchise record. Jermaine Dye is five home runs away from Steve Balboni's club record of 36. Johnny Damon needs to score 19 runs to tie Willie Wilson's mark.

Sweeney's bases-loaded double highlighted a six-run second inning as the Royals built an 8-0 lead and held on after giving up five runs in the last two innings.

"Whenever there are runners in scoring position I really bear down," said Sweeney, who has 23 home runs and is batting .341. "I don't know what it is, and I don't think you can teach it. It's just something inside of me."

The official temperature in downtown Kansas City in the seventh inning was 104. The Royals closed the sun-baked upper deck and let everyone move down to lower-level seats, many in the shade.

Temporarily adding to the discomfort was a water main break that disrupted water service at the Truman Sports Complex until about 15 minutes after the start of the game.

Minnesota trailed 8-0 after three innings, but drew within one on Denny Hocking's three-run homer in the ninth off Jerry Spradlin, who failed to get an out after starting the ninth and was released following the game.

Ricky Bottalico came in and allowed singles to Midre Cummings and pinch-hitter Jay Canizaro, before getting David Ortiz to hit into a double play and Torii Hunter to ground out. Bottalico earned his 14th save.

"I was happy to see our team fight back," Twins manager Tom Kelly said. "We made it interesting for some people. But at the end, he hit into the double play and that was too much for us to overcome."

Sweeney's bases-loaded double against Mark Redman (12-7) stretched his hitting streak to 16 games as the Royals swept the two-game series.

Mac Suzuki (8-7) gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings, lowering his ERA from 4.00 to 3.94, sixth in the AL. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

Redman, the AL's rookie leader in wins, strikeouts, ERA and winning percentage, gave up six runs and seven hits in two innings.

Kansas City's Mark Quinn, who along with Redman is one of the leading contenders for the AL Rookie of the Year award, hit his 19th homer leading off the third against Johan Santana.

Dye, who was 3-for-4, singled leading off the second and went to third on Quinn's double. Joe Randa and Dave McCarty had RBI singles and Luis Ordaz had a run-scoring groundout.

After Wilson Delgado's infield single loaded the bases, Sweeney drove a double into left-center to make it 6-0.

After Quinn's homer in the second, Randa tripled and scored on a single by McCarty, who went 3-for-4.

Hunter was 2-for-5 and drove in three runs for Minnesota. He had a two-run double in the sixth and an RBI single off reliever Andy Larkin in the eighth. Hunter scored on Corey Koskie's double.

Notes: Water service was restored about 15 minutes into the game. But the club said all tickets, used as well as unused, could be redeemed for any other home game this season. ... Royals SS Rey Sanchez, who was hit in the knee by a pitch Tuesday night, was a late scratch. ... The Twins made a roster move, activating C Chad Moeller from the 15-day DL and sending C Danny Ardoin to Triple-A Salt Lake City. ... The Twins were 1-5 in Kansas City this season. ... Minnesota CF Hunter made several outstanding running catches. ... In his 16-game streak, Sweeney is 23-for-64 (.359). ... Suzuki, in his previous start, issued seven walks in just three innings. ... The Twins hit five doubles.

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