Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2000

Royals blank Detroit

July 22, 2000


— Confidence in his sinking fastball made all the difference for Dan Reichert.

Reichert pitched a six-hitter for his first career shutout as Kansas City beat Detroit, 4-0, Friday night for its fourth straight win.

When: 12:05 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. today.Where: Comerica Park.Television: 6:05 p.m. game on channel 29 (C17).Pitchers: Witasick (2-8) and Durbin (2-4) v. Mlicki (4-9) and Sparks (0-1).

KC's Johnny Damon was 3-for-5 for his seventh multi-hit game in Kansas City's nine games since the All-Star break.

Reichert (4-6) won for the first time since May 27 and first time in five starts since he was put into the rotation June 24. It was also his first complete game.

"It's pretty exciting to get a shutout," Reichert said. "They don't come very often, so it was cool to get it.

"I threw more four-seamers than sliders. When you get the fastball over early in the count, you can play with the hitters."

Royals manager Tony Muser said Reichert has relied too much on his slider.

"I just think it's been a very big transition for him to throw his fastball for strikes," Muser said. "He's a young kid who's had better command of his slider than his fastball."

Reichert, 24, set a career high with seven strikeouts, walked two and kept the Tigers off-balance all night, causing several broken-bat grounders.

"That was the sinker that ran into the hands," Reichert said. "That's the biggest thing with a sinker. You throw it over and let it work into the hitters. When your sinker's working good, you get good results."

The Tigers, blanked for a major league-high 11th time, never had more than one runner on base before Bobby Higginson and Dean Palmer hit one-out singles in the sixth. But Reichert struck out Luis Polonia after falling behind 2-0, then Deivi Cruz grounded out to end the threat.

"That's a big confidence booster right there, when two get on and you get behind and you get him out," Reichert said. "

Damon is 15-for-22 (.682) during the Royals' winning streak, and his 15 hits in four games tied an AL record.

"It's been a nice, lucky streak," said Damon, who's been growing a beard recently. "I'm not touching a razor. If we keep winning, (the beard's) going to stay there."

Walt Dropo was the last AL player to get 15 hits in four games, doing it in 1952.

"I'll let you keep track of that," Muser said. "I just know (Damon's) swinging the bat well and scoring runs for the Kansas City Royals. When he's swinging the bat and scoring runs, he's an exciting leadoff man."

Damon's hot streak has lifted his average to .302.

"That's a tough one," Damon said. "I'd like to stay over that, but we've got a lot of season left."

The Tigers once again failed to support Jeff Weaver (6-8), who allowed four runs three earned and nine hits in 8 2/3 innings. Detroit has scored two or fewer runs in seven of his eight losses.

"I can't keep commenting about it. I say the same things over and over," Weaver said. "I'm just concentrating on getting deep in the game and keeping us close. That's all I can control."

The Tigers committed three errors, including one by second baseman Damion Easley that was his first in 100 games over the past two seasons. Easley couldn't handle Damon's slow roller in the seventh.

"By the time I got there, I ran into an in-between hop and didn't come up with it," Easley said. "It's unfortunate it had to come to an end, but it did. I've got to start another one. I'm not down about it. I'm disappointed it stopped, especially being a team thing with defense."

Mike Sweeney drew a two-out walk in the first and scored when Jermaine Dye hit Weaver's next pitch to the flag pole in left-center field for a triple.

Rey Sanchez's RBI groundout made it 2-0 in the third after Damon beat out a bunt single and moved to third on throwing errors by Weaver and right fielder Rich Becker.

Todd Dunwoody had a sacrifice fly and Gregg Zaun an RBI single in the sixth.

Notes: Damon is 24-for-41 (.595) in the Royals' nine games since the All-Star break. ... Easley's last error before Friday was last Aug. 20 at Anaheim. ... Sweeney was 0-for-4, snapping a season-high 12-game hitting streak. ... The Tigers will hold their annual Negro Leagues salute prior to the first game of today's day-night doubleheader with the Royals. The Tigers will wear replica uniforms of the Detroit Stars and the Royals will dress as the Kansas City Monarchs. ... Today's doubleheader is the first in Comerica Park history and was necessitated by a May 9 rainout.

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