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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 inning.

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 victory.

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 last inning."

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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