Archive for Sunday, June 23, 2002

Eight losses enough for Royals - Kansas City 5, New York Mets 1

Ibanez’s 4 RBIs key win

June 23, 2002


— What started out like a typical game for Kansas City turned into something the Royals haven't seen in almost two weeks a win.

After Roberto Alomar hit Kansas City starter Paul Byrd's 10th pitch of the game to the wall where Michael Tucker took a home run away with a leaping catch it looked like it would be another long night for the Royals.

When: 12:05 p.m. today.Where: Shea Stadium.Television: Channel 9.Pitchers: Shawn Sedlack (0-0) vs. Jeff D'Amico (4-6).KC record: 26-45.

But Byrd picked up steam and Raul Ibanez homered and tied a career-high with four RBIs to help Kansas City break an eight-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over the New York Mets.

"They have a great team, and sooner or later those guys are going to wake up," manager Tony Pena said. "And whenever they wake up, everybody better watch out. I'm just glad that we played them at the right time."

It wasn't the only ball the Mets hit hard off Byrd (9-5), who was 0-3 with a 12.86 ERA in his previous three starts, and missed his last scheduled start due to tendinitis in his left elbow. But with a little defensive help, he only allowed one run and seven hits in 51/3 innings as the Royals won for just the third time in 14 interleague games.

"I'd like to say I pitched a gem, but I didn't. They hit balls hard at people," Byrd said. "I threw a fastball, turned around and saw the scoreboard and it said 'Changeup, 78 mph.' I thought 'Uh-oh, I better put them in the right places.'

"Then in the fourth or fifth inning I was throwing balls 92. I definitely could tell I had a much better fastball then."

Pedro Astacio (7-3) gave up four runs on four hits, and left after Ibanez doubled home Neifi Perez to put the Royals ahead 4-1 with one out in the sixth.

Ibanez also hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning to help snap the Mets' three-game winning streak. Carlos Beltran added a solo shot in the eighth for the Royals off Bobby Jones.

"I lost count at six, but I think we lost eight in a row," Ibanez said. "There were some close ball games, some games we were in right up to the end. So it was definitely a relief."

Tony Tarasco, who got a rare start after hustling home with the winning run Friday, homered to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the second inning. That was all the Mets could manage against Byrd.

Astacio didn't allow a hit until two outs in the fourth inning. After Beltran walked with two outs, Mike Sweeney hit a grounder up the middle that Alomar dove for but couldn't convert into a force out at second base.

Ibanez made the Mets pay, following with his fourth homer of the season to give the Royals a 3-1 lead.

"You only get so many cracks at them," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "We had second and third and first and third in those innings. We just couldn't get the runs across."

The Mets had several opportunities to score, but couldn't convert. In the sixth inning, Timo Perez led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout. Edgardo Alfonzo then hit a bloop single to short right field, but Perez was held at third.

Scott Mullen then relieved Byrd and got pinch-hitter Mike Piazza to hit into an inning-ending double play. Sweeney finished the play by applying a tag that sent Piazza rolling down the first-base line.

"How huge was that? It could have easily been 4-4," Byrd said, praising his relievers. "We needed that. We didn't have to make spectacular plays; we needed a couple innings like that. The bullpen really picked me up too. It was just a total team effort. It was great to see."

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