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Kansas City wins ninth straight game

7/21/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Runelvys Hernandez didn't get a reward after his first career victory.

Hernandez was sent back to the minor leagues after pitching the
Kansas City Royals to their ninth straight victory, 7-5 win over
Cleveland in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. The Indians ended the Royals' winning streak with a 5-3 victory in the nightcap.

"It was a tough decision, but we have five starters and if we kept him here, he would be sitting in the bullpen and we don't want that, we want him pitching,'' Royals manager Tony Pena said.

With two doubleheaders this week, the Royals brought Hernandez
up to get two starts. Hernandez (1-0) allowed three runs and seven
hits in seven innings. He retired eight straight batters at one
point and struck out nine in his second career start.

Hernandez was sent to Double-A Wichita after the game.

"We want him to pitch,'' Pena said. "We brought him up to pitch two games. We saw what we have in him. We have a big league pitcher. I was very impressed with the way he threw the ball and with his stuff on the mound.

"It was real tough for him, but it was something we had to do.''

Cleveland's Jaret Wright (0-1), who missed more than a year with
a shoulder injury, allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings
in his first major league appearance since June 21, 2001.

"I felt good physically,'' Wright said. "The velocity was there. It's more not being in that situation in over a year, though.

"You can replicate the physical aspect, but the mental edge is tough to get back.''

Brandon Berger and A.J. Hinch drove in two runs each for the
Royals, who are on their longest winning streak since also winning
nine straight Aug. 15-23, 1989.

Hernandez's nine strikeouts tied a team high this year. He
struck out eight Indians in the first four innings.

"He kept his change up down and kept everyone off stride,'' Cleveland manager Joel Skinner said about Hernandez. "He was aggressive with his fastball and did a good job.''

Berger hit a two-run single off Wright in the third inning to
make it 5-1. Hinch added a two-run homer in the fifth off Jake
Westbrook to put the Royals up 7-3.

"It's kind of one of those things like with this team, you
can't really understand it,'' Hinch said. "Someone just keeps
having that one swing that puts us ahead a little bit more.

"You don't see anybody's head down (when we are losing) and that's a tribute to Tony Pena. His energy level is amazing. Demanding so much out of is has really kick started us.''

Roberto Hernandez allowed a two-run homer to Chris Magruder in
the ninth before getting his 19th save in 23 chances.

Ellis Burks' RBI groundout gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead in the
first inning, but the Royals went ahead in the bottom half on
run-scoring singles Carlos Beltran and Raul Ibanez. The Royals have come from behind to win their last seven games.

Bill Selby had two hits, including an RBI single in the fifth inning.

Game notes
With the win, the Royals moved into a tie for third with
Cleveland in the AL Central. ... Ibanez overtook Joe Randa for the
team lead in RBI with 58. ... The Royals have homered in five
straight games.