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ChiSox lose third straight after winning opener

4/5/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- For a finesse pitcher like Paul Byrd, a
weary arm is not necessarily a bad arm.

Once he settled down and got a bit tired, Byrd's control seemed
to sharpen Friday night. He went six effective innings to lead
Kansas City to a 5-2 victory over the mistake-prone Chicago White
Sox 5-2.

"In pitching, you have to be relaxed and not try to do too much
and focus on hitting your spots," Byrd said. "I'm a better
pitcher when I just concentrate on trying to hit my spots. So that
happened later when I got a little tired and was able to get some
groundballs and popups when I needed them. It was nice."

Raul Ibanez and Mike Sweeney each drove in two runs.

The White Sox, who have lost three straight after winning their
opener at Seattle, committed four errors and other costly blunders.

"Tonight was just an ugly game for us," Chicago manager Jerry
Manuel said. "We didn't do too many things right. We didn't run
the bases right. We didn't field. We didn't get the hits and we
didn't make the pitches when we needed to. All that leads to a
loss."

Byrd (1-0) gave up two runs and nine hits for his first win
since Aug. 16 at Baltimore. It was just the second victory for the
Royals in their last 10 outings against the White Sox, who were
14-5 against their AL Central foes in 2001.

Carlos Beltran doubled with one out in the third and then
Sweeney connected off Jon Garland (0-1) for his 100th career homer,
putting the Royals up 4-2. Kansas City became the last AL team to
homer this season.

Sweeney singled leading off the second and Michael Tucker walked
ahead of Ibanez's two-run double.

In the Chicago third, Tony Graffanino and Kenny Lofton singled
and Ray Durham hit an RBI double into left. After Frank Thomas'
sacrifice fly tied it at 2, terrible baserunning cost the White
Sox.

With one out and Durham on second, Magglio Ordonez hit a sharp
grounder to shortstop Neifi Perez. Durham was tagged out by Perez
when he strayed too far off the bag. Then Perez throw to Sweeney at
first after Ordonez took a wide turn around first, and Ordonez was
caught in a run-down.

Another Chicago mistake cost the White Sox in the fourth. After
Garland walked Carlos Febles and Chuck Knoblauch leading off, Perez
attempted a sacrifice bunt which catcher Mark Johnson picked up a
few feet in front of home plate.

But his throw to first pulled Paul Konerko off the bag and
allowed Febles to score the Royals' fifth run.

Blake Stein pitched three innings for his first save.

Garland, who was 2-0 against the Royals last season, gave up
five runs -- four earned -- and six hits in five innings. He walked
four and was victimized by four White Sox errors.

"We've got to get our three, four and five guys swinging the
bat a little better," Manuel said. "We need to get those guys
going for us to take some pressure off our defense and our starting
pitching."

Game notes
Last year the White Sox also won their opener, but lost
four straight after that and went 8-15 in April, dropping out of
the AL Central race. ... Chicago SS Royce Clayton was a last-minute
scratch because of a sore toe and was replaced by Graffanino.
Clayton was not expected to miss more than one game. ... Perez made
a nice play at shortstop in the fifth, fielding Thomas' hot smash
behind second, stepping on the bag for a force out and throwing to
first for the double play. ... The White Sox have given up 13 of
Sweeney's 100 career home runs, more than any other club.