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Berroa hits RBI single with one out in ninth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The frustration is mounting for Mets
manager Art Howe.

The usually calm Howe gave his players a closed-door lecture
Saturday after New York blew two leads in a mistake-filled, 4-3
loss to the Kansas City Royals.

"I let them know I wasn't really happy," Howe said after the
Mets' season-worst fifth straight loss.

The Mets made baserunning mistakes and failed to get down tags
and wasted a fine outing by starter Al Leiter.

"Overall, we played one of our poorer games of the year," Howe
said. "We got what we deserved right there."

Angel Berroa, who hit a two-run home run off Leiter in the
second inning, singled into shallow right with one out in the
ninth, and Wilton Guerrero took off from second.

Right fielder Gerald Williams made a strong throw to the plate
but Guerrero was safe when catcher Vance Wilson had trouble
handling the throw and tagged Guerrero with his glove, but the ball
was still in his other hand.

Berroa thought the runner would score.

"I saw the outfielder playing shallow. I was just trying to get
the base hit," he said. "It was close."

It was more than close, an angry Wilson asserted.

"I think the umpire's reply was that I didn't have the ball. He
was in a bad position if he didn't see that I had the ball,"
Wilson said. "The only replay I've seen is from behind and you
can't see it. But I had the ball right there in my bare hand. The
guy's out."

Joe Randa, who had two doubles, singled leading off the ninth
against David Weathers (5-3). Guerrero advanced to second on a
sacrifice.

Jeremy Affeldt (2-3), who had converted nine straight save
opportunities, inherited a 3-2 lead in the ninth but gave up a
one-out single to Mike Cameron before Todd Zeile's pinch-hit double
tied it 3-all.

Kaz Matsui then hit a liner into left-center and Brandon Berger
made a good running catch and easily doubled off Zeile, who was
almost at home when Berroa tagged the bag.

"I don't know what they were thinking," Berroa said. "He went
flying past me 100 miles an hour."

It was the fourth double play for the Royals and the first time
in seven plate appearances Matsui failed to reach base.

Mike Sweeney hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth to put
Kansas City on top 3-2.

Leiter, who hadn't allowed a run in two starts since returning
from the disabled list, went seven innings and gave up just two
runs and three hits.

The Royals were hitless until Randa doubled leading off the
fifth. Then Berroa hit the next pitch into the stands in left field
for his fourth home run and a 2-all tie.

"I saw what he threw to Joe," Berroa said. "So I thought I
would take a chance and just jump on one."

The Mets, who stranded 13 runners in a 7-5 loss the night
before, got only one run after loading the bases with no outs in
the first.

Mike Piazza drew a walk to force in a run, then Ty Wigginton
lined into a 6-4 double play and Wilson grounded to first.

Cameron and Joe McEwing singled leading off the New York fifth
and Cliff Floyd drove in a run with a groundout for a 2-0 lead.

Howe refused to say what he told the team after the game. Wilson
did not care to talk about it either.

"I have no comment on Art Howe and what he said to us," he
said.

The Royals were victims of an unusual double play in the first.
With one out and Carlos Beltran on first, Sweeney tried to check
his swing. But the ball popped off his bat and went to first
baseman Jason Phillips, who made a diving catch and then turned
around and tagged the bag before Beltran could get back.

Royals starter Chris George failed to get a decision for the
third straight start since being called up from Triple-A. He went
six innings, giving up only four hits but also six walks and two
runs while not striking out anyone. It was 2-2 when Brian Anderson
relieved starting the seventh.

Game notes
The Mets will wear the uniforms of the 1944 New York Cubans
and the Royals will don the uniforms of the 1945 Kansas City
Monarchs in a salute the Negro Leagues on Sunday. ... Mets OF Shane
Spencer missed his second straight game with a sore shoulder and
was day to day. He pinch-ran for Piazza in the eighth. ... Phillips
made an outstanding sliding catch of Berroa's pop foul in the
seventh after Randa had doubled and been sacrificed to third. ...
The Royals lead the major leagues with 74 double plays.