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Archive for Friday, June 20, 2008

Major League Roundup: Royals complete sweep

Greinke pitches K.C. past St. Louis in series finale

Kansas City's Mark Teahen connects for a single. The Royals defeated the Cardinals, 4-1, on Thursday in St. Louis to complete a series sweep.

Kansas City's Mark Teahen connects for a single. The Royals defeated the Cardinals, 4-1, on Thursday in St. Louis to complete a series sweep.

June 20, 2008

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Royals 4, Cardinals 1

St. Louis - Somehow, the AL Central's last-place team is also one of the best in interleague play.

After the Kansas City Royals swept the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time since 2001, pitcher Zack Greinke guessed that players' unfamiliarity with the National League was probably helpful.

"Maybe we don't realize how good they are because we don't get to face them that often," Greinke said after combining with two relievers on a two-hitter in a 4-1 victory on Thursday. "We face American League teams all the time, so we know how good each team is."

Mark Teahen missed the cycle by a double and had three RBIs for the Royals, who are 7-2 in interleague play - with other road series wins at Florida and Arizona - despite an overall record of 31-42. Manager Trey Hillman pointed out the punchless Cardinals were missing Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina and juggling the rotation due to injuries.

"That was nice, very nice," Hillman said. "We caught these guys at a good time. But we took advantage of it."

The Royals won their fifth in a row and handed the Cardinals their first series sweep of three or more games of the season, with two one-run victories and a tight finale before Teahen's two-run homer off Chris Perez in the ninth.

The Cardinals had won eight straight series with one split since dropping two of three to the Pirates at home May 13-15. They absorbed their first sweep since Sept. 12-14 at Cincinnati, and their first at home since the Mets routed them 20-2 over three games to open the 2007 season.

Rick Ankiel homered for the Cardinals, who totaled only four runs in the series against a team that entered the finale 10th in the American League with a 4.46 earned-run average. St. Louis has scored three or fewer runs in six of eight games since Pujols went on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain.

"He's a major force that's not in your lineup, but this club against us has thrown a bunch of quality starts," manager Tony La Russa said. "Even with Albert, it's only one bat. We made a mistake, they hit it out of the park. Three days' worth."

The Cardinals sold out the last five games of a 2-4 homestand with paid attendance of 44,277 for the finale.

Greinke (6-4) didn't allow a hit until Ankiel's 11th homer with two outs in the fourth. He struck out seven, walked one and worked seven or more innings for the ninth time in 15 starts.

Brewers 8, Blue Jays 7

Milwaukee - Dave Bush took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning, and Milwaukee barely held on against Toronto.

Rays 8, Cubs 3

St. Petersburg, Fla. - Carl Crawford's second career grand slam was the big blow in a seven-run, seventh-inning rally that carried Tampa Bay past Chicago and a three-game sweep of the team with baseball's best record. The Cubs had been the only major league club that hadn't lost more than two games in a row this season.

White Sox 13, Pirates 8

Chicago - Jermaine Dye hit two homers, including a seventh-inning grand slam, and drove in six runs as Chicago finished a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh.

Yankees 2, Padres 1

New York - Joba Chamberlain gave up one run on four hits in 52â3 innings in his fourth start. He also helped prevent a run with his catcher's skills, blocking home plate to make a tag. Then Chamberlain's former mates in the bullpen showed they're doing just fine without him, holding the Padres scoreless the rest of the way.

Orioles 7, Astros 5

Baltimore - Alex Cintron had three hits, including one of Baltimore's three home runs, and the Orioles extended Houston's losing streak to eight games.

Diamondbacks 2, Athletics 1

Phoenix - Justin Upton hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning. Upton drove a 3-2 delivery from Keith Foulke (0-2) into the pool area in right-center field to open the eighth, his ninth homer. Upton, who was 2-for-13 on the Diamondbacks' six-game homestand, also doubled.

Twins 9, Nationals 3

Minneapolis - Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run triple and reached base all four times he batted.

Rangers 5, Braves 4

Arlington, Texas - Michael Young broke out of a deep slump with a game-ending RBI single.

Rockies 6, Indians 3

Denver - Jorge De La Rosa struck out a career-high 10, and Willy Taveras had three hits and scored twice, leading Colorado to a sweep of the three-game series.

National League

Dodgers 7, Reds 4

Cincinnati - Matt Kemp emerged from his slump by hitting a homer and a two-run double.

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