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Archive for Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cubs clobber Royals

March 26, 2006

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— Michael Barrett hit a three-run home run and drove in six runs Saturday as a Chicago Cubs split squad beat the Kansas City Royals, 9-4.

Barrett homered in the first inning off Runelvys Hernandez with Neifi Perez and Aramis Ramirez aboard. Barrett added a two-run single in the fourth. His single in the sixth scored Michael Restovich.

Royals starting pitchers Jeremy Affeldt, Denny Bautista and Scott Elarton had limited opponents to two runs and 11 hits over 17 innings in the three previous games, but Hernandez was roughed up for six runs on six hits, five walks and a hit batter in 32â3 innings.

Hernandez, who reported to camp about 30 pounds overweight, also gave up a home run to Angel Pagan in the second. Hernandez, who has been named the starter for the second game of the season, has a 7.50 earned-run average in four games, allowing 11 runs, 10 earned, in 12 innings, while walking 10.

"He really hasn't had a decent outing yet since we've been down here," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "So we're hoping his next one is a little sharper, so he can go into the season, his first start, with some momentum.

"He's a throwing a lot like he did at the end of the year (a 9.33 ERA after Aug. 30). There's no crispness about his pitches. His breaking ball was OK, but he needs his fastball. I don't know if it's a mechanical issue or an out-of-shape issue or what. We're going to find out."

Notes: DH Mike Sweeney's return has been delayed again. Sweeney, who has only 10 at-bats and has not played since March 9 because of a bone bruise in his left leg, was to play in a Royals' minor-league game today, but that has been put off to Monday. ... CF David DeJesus, who has not played since straining a hamstring running to first base in the first inning Wednesday, is penciled in for a Monday return.

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