Archive for Saturday, July 10, 2004

Royals score! Royals win!

July 10, 2004


— Having finally put their club-record scoreless run to rest, the Kansas City Royals doubled their pleasure by snapping a burdensome losing streak.

Mike Sweeney ended Kansas City's 32-inning drought with a two-run double in the sixth, and the Royals snapped an eight-game skid by beating the Baltimore Orioles, 7-0, Friday night.

"We came out and won, and it's a great feeling," said Sweeney, who went 3-for-5 with four RBIs. "The food tastes better. The drinks taste better. Hopefully we don't have to wait eight more games to celebrate a win."

Darrell May (6-9) pitched a five-hitter for his third career shutout, just 11 days after yielding seven runs and eight hits in a 10-1 loss to Baltimore. The left-hander struck out five and walked one in his sixth career complete game, the second this season.

"I think I had a pretty good read on them this time," he said.

May, who did not allow a runner past first base, has both of Kansas City's complete games and the Royals' lone shutout.

Sweeney, who missed the past six games with back stiffness, proved to be the cure for K.C.'s sputtering offense. Besides his huge sixth-inning hit, he had a two-run single in a three-run ninth.

"We just have better balance now," manager Tony Pena said.

Baltimore has lost three straight and scored in only two of its last 29 innings. The Orioles are 9-18 in games started by left-handers.

"We just couldn't put anything together. (May) kept the ball down, moved it around and kept us off stride," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "We didn't seem like ourselves out there."

Sweeney's sixth-inning hit produced one more run than Kansas City scored in its previous four games.

"It was a huge relief for the team," May said. "You could see the tenseness in the dugout when we had a runner in scoring position up to that point."

Angel Berroa added a two-run single in a four-run sixth against rookie Erik Bedard (3-3), who was 2-0 in seven starts since May 25. He set a career high with nine strikeouts in six innings.

The Royals' previous record for consecutive scoreless innings was 30, set in 1981 and matched in 1985. Kansas City surpassed that mark in the fourth, but finally broke through in the sixth.

Desi Relaford led off with a walk and took third on a single by Tony Graffanino. Sweeney then doubled to left for a 2-0 lead.

"It was a sigh of relief, not only for me, but for the team," Sweeney said. "I've been out for six games, and three of them we got shut out. It was just a relief to be back in the lineup and contribute a little bit and help this team win."

Berroa -- who entered mired in an 0-for-12 slump -- padded the margin with his second hit of the game.

That was enough offense for the Royals, who were outscored 60-16 and batted a meager .156 during their skid. Kansas City had lost 13 of 14; its lone victory in that span was against Baltimore.

Kansas City tied the team mark for successive scoreless innings in the third. With one out and runners on the corners, Pena called for a double steal with Sweeney at the plate, and John Buck was gunned down at home on a return throw from shortstop Miguel Tejada.

Notes: The Royals improved to 11-29 on the road and ended an eight-game slide away from Kauffman Stadium. ... Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro got his 2,851st hit, moving into sole possession of 38th place on the career list. ... Kansas City's Ken Harvey went 0-for-5 and is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. ... The Orioles scratched Sidney Ponson (groin) from his start Saturday and will instead use rookie Daniel Cabrera. ... K.C.'s Matt Stairs left in the sixth inning with left ankle soreness and is day-to-day.

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