Archive for Sunday, June 30, 2002

Gant’s slam in 10th dooms KC

Sweeney homers again, but Royals fall, 8-4

June 30, 2002


— First he robbed Joe Randa of a home run with a leaping catch at the wall in the fourth inning. Then, he hit a grand slam in the 10th.

If San Diego needed anything more from Ron Gant, he probably would have obliged.

When: 1:05 p.m. today.Where: Kauffman Stadium.Television: None.Pitchers: Jeff Suppan (6-6) vs. Jake Peavy (0-1).KC record: 30-47.

But those two feats were plenty to lead the Padres to an 8-4 victory against Kansas City on Saturday night despite Mike Sweeney homering for a Royals club-record fifth straight game.

"I don't know that there's much more a guy can do," Padres starter Brett Tomko said.

In a 1-for-15 skid, Gant hit a 1-0 pitch from Dan Reichert 422 feet over the wall in left after Jason Grimsley walked the bases full on 13 pitches in the 10th.

"Just a fastball away," said Gant, who's hit five grand slams in his career. "He fell behind 1-0 and with the bases loaded I know he doesn't want to walk me. I was looking for the pitch on the outer half of the plate and that's exactly where I got it."

The game wouldn't have gone into extra innings if Gant had not tracked down Randa's drive and made a great leaping catch at the wall in left.

"I got back to the wall and thought I had a chance to catch it on the track," he said. "I know my glove was over the fence. It was a big play. I didn't know it was going to be that big of a play in the long run."

The winner was Steve Reed (2-3), who went 1 1/3 perfect innings.

Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth as the Padres snapped the Royals' four-game winning streak.

Sweeney's two-run homer off Tomko in the sixth was his 15th of the year and fifth in five games, setting a team record and putting the Royals ahead 3-1.

Sweeney has led the AL with a .413 average in the month of June. He was 1-for-4, lowering his league-leading average to .365. He is hitting .545 during his 12-game hitting streak.

Sweeney insisted he's not the sort of player to get five homers in five straight games.

"That's somethign that John Mayberry or George Brett represent," he said. "Not me. I just ran into balls five nights in a row."

Ryan Klesko hit his 14th home run leading off the San Diego seventh off rookie starter Shawn Sedlacek, who was trying for his first major league win on his 26th birthday.

Then with one out, Ray Lankford hit an RBI double that tied it 3-all. Deivi Cruz followed with a double, but Lankford was out easily on a throw home from center fielder Carlos Beltran when he tried to score.

After Sedlacek walked D'Angelo Jimenez, left-hander Scott Mullen came in and gave up an RBI single to Tom Lampkin, who was only 3-for-28 against lefties.

Michael Tucker, leading off the bottom of the seventh, made it 4-4 with his first home run since May 5.

The Royals scored a run in the first on Carlos Beltran's RBI double, then the Padres made it 1-1 in the sixth when Lampkin doubled and scored on Mark Kotsay's RBI single.

Sedlacek went 6 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks, with two strikeouts. Tomko, in 7 2/3 innings, gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks.

Notes: Losing to San Francisco 11-6 Thursday and 14-10 to the Royals on Friday, the Padres became the first club in modern major league history to drop back-to-back games after scoring five runs in the first inning. ... The Royals designated RHP Mac Suzuki for assignment and purchased the contract of infielder Mike Caruso from Triple-A Omaha. Suzuki (0-2) had a 9.00 ERA in 21 innings, including one start. ... The major league record for homering in consecutive games is eight, shared by Dale Long, Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey Jr. ... Before homering, Klesko was 2-for-18 and had grounded into double plays his first two at-bats on Saturday.

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