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Red Sox rally from a five-run deficit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Johnny Damon heard the boos from the
Kansas City fans.

"I really don't mind it," he said. "They have some false
information on how this team is run."

Damon helped the Boston Red Sox rally from a five-run deficit
against his former team, getting three RBI Wednesday in a 9-6
victory over the Royals.

The popular cornerstone of a youth movement in Kansas City until
he refused to sign a long-term contract, Damon was traded to
Oakland in 2001 and was booed every time he came to bat Wednesday.

He hit a two-run home run in the seventh off Kyle Snyder and an
RBI double in the eighth against Albie Lopez (4-1).

Damon said Royals fans "will see what happens" when stars Mike
Sweeney and Carlos Beltran become eligible for free agency.

Sweeney
can void the final three years of his new $55 million, five-year
contract if the Royals fail to reach .500 this season or next and
Beltran could be eligible after the 2004 season.

"They're still talking about cutting payroll," Damon said.
"So (the Royals) are trying to stay in the race through July and
see if (owner) David Glass goes and gets people who help them down
the stretch."

The Royals cut about $4 million this year, bringing their
opening-day payroll to about $40 million, 29th among one of the
lowest in the major leagues.

Boston's is around $97 million, one of the biggest.

"I'm very happy to be in Boston," Damon said. "I played my
heart out here. If I had signed a contract, guess what? Mike
Sweeney might not be here. The fans keep wanting to think I
demanded to be traded. But I think Mike Sweeney is definitely a
better person to be here in the community than I am."

The Royals, who have lost two straight at Kauffman Stadium after
an 11-0 start at home, built a 6-1 lead before Boston scored four
runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth.

"When you have a big inning like that, good teams need to go
out and make sure the other team doesn't come back," Royals
shortstop Desi Relaford said.

Steve Woodard (1-0) allowed one hit in 1 1-3 innings in relief
of John Burkett, who made his 400th major league start. Brandon
Lyon got three outs for his third save in three chances.

Boston led 1-0 on Shea Hillenbrand's second-inning sacrifice fly
before Kansas City chased Burkett in a six-run sixth. The Red Sox
then pulled to 6-5 in the seventh on Jason Varitek's sacrifice fly,
Damon's homer and Nomar Garciaparra's RBI triple off Jason
Grimsley.

Boston went ahead in the eighth on Bill Mueller's RBI double off
Lopez, Jeremy Giambi's run-scoring single, Damon's double and Todd
Walker's RBI single against D.J. Carrasco.

Burkett gave up six runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck
out six and walked one. Snyder, who didn't get a decision in his
major league debut at Boston last week, allowed five runs, five
hits and four walks in 6 2/3 innings.

Burkett had retired 13 straight going into the sixth. Mike
DiFelice has an RBI single, Joe Randa hit a sacrifice fly and
Sweeney doubled in two runs. Raul Ibanez then singled in a run and
Desi Relaford hit an RBI double.

"I've never seen Burkett throw as well as he did today the
first five innings," Boston manager Grady Little said. "It's a
shame the roof caved in the sixth inning."

Game notes
Sweeney, the Royals' lead in homers (eight) and RBI (26),
left because of tightness in his right hamstring. ... Boston's
Manny Ramirez stole third in the second inning, his first stolen
base since 2000. ... The Royals purchased the contract of RHP Sean
Lowe from Triple-A Omaha. He took the roster spot of RHP Ryan
Bukvich, who was optioned to Omaha on Tuesday night. ... The Red
Sox claimed LHP Bruce Chen on waivers from Houston. ... The Royals
have been alone at the top of the AL Central Division for 31 games,
their longest span to be in first place since leading the AL West
in 1980 from May 23 on. ... The only other active major leaguers
with more starts than Burkett are Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom
Glavine, Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown. ... The Red Sox hit five
doubles, giving them 96 on the season, second in the major leagues
to Toronto (97 entering Wednesday).