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Royals hope letdown isn't sign of things to come
By Mark Bodenrader, MLB Contributing Editor
Royals team report
(Sports Network) - Coming into their weekend series with Toronto, the
surprising Royals had won five straight games to improve their record to an
astounding 16-3, proving doubters wrong in the process.
The teams split the first two games of the set, with the Royals pulling out a
9-6 victory on Saturday thanks to a three-run homer by Ken Harvey in the ninth
In the rubber match on Sunday, Kansas City entered the bottom of the ninth
holding a 9-4 cushion and seemed braced for another series win. However, the
Blue Jays rallied this time, scoring six runs in the final frame for a 10-9
Ryan Bukvich started the ninth for Kansas City, but surrendered singles to
Shannon Stewart and Frank Catalanotto to start the rally. Vernon Wells then
walked to load the bases for Carlos Delgado, who bounced into an RBI fielder's
choice. Josh Phelps chased Bukvich from the game with a two-run double down
the right field line to make it a 9-7 game.
Closer Mike MacDougal came into the game, but couldn't shut the door for the
first time this season. Eric Hinske belted a double off the wall in right, but
pinch-runner Jayson Werth was held up at third base. MacDougal followed by
hitting Tom Wilson with a pitch to load the bases.
Dave Berg grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning,
scoring Werth to make it 9-8, and Mike Bordick singled to center to chase home
Wilson with the tying run.
Stewart came to the plate and hit a soft grounder in the hole between short
and third. Berroa fielded the ball, but his throw went past first baseman
Mendy Lopez, allowing Berg to cross home plate with the game-winning run.
"It was just a weird game," Royals catcher Brent Mayne said. "And honestly, I
couldn't explain that last inning. Like I said, you have to take the good with
the bad. You saw probably the worst that any team could do in baseball that
MacDougal (1-1) proved he was human on Sunday, suffering his first blown save
in 11 chances this season and his first loss of 2003. He still leads the
majors with 10 saves.
"It was a tough loss," MacDougal said. "I took a tough loss tonight. I had
decent stuff. Two guys got a hold of me. I don't know what to say, but it was
a crappy inning."
Wasted was another solid effort by starter Runelvys Hernandez, who left with
an 8-2 lead after seven innings and was attempting to tie for the league-lead
with five wins.
The righthander is still undefeated on the year (4-0) and is second in the AL
with a 1.36 ERA.
"We will find out (how the team responds to the tough loss)," Royals manager
Tony Pena said. "Sometimes you win some tough ballgames and sometimes you let
a ballgame escape away from your hands. Let's see how we'll bounce back."
Rightfielder Michael Tucker has gone 16-for-43 over his last 10 games to
raise his average from .186 to .279. Third baseman Joe Randa has driven in
nine runs over his past five games.
Centerfielder Carlos Beltran is batting just .161 through his first eight
games after missing time early on because of an injury. On the plus side, all
five of Beltran's hits this season have come in the past three games.
The Royals resume their nine-game road trip Tuesday when they open a three-
game set against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Kansas City finishes the swing
with a three-game series versus the Orioles at Camden Yards.
04/28 14:30:01 ET
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