Mays takes advantage of lowly Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Joe Mays had not won a major league game
since undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2003.

"It seems like forever," the Minnesota right-hander said after
beating Kansas City 9-4 on Wednesday night. "You really look back
and think how long and all the rehab I've gone through and all,
trying to be patient. I'm not a very patient person."

Jason Bartlett drove in three runs and Matthew LeCroy hit a
two-run homer in support of Mays (1-0), who hadn't won since
beating the Royals 16-2 on June 19, 2003. He had the surgery on
Sept. 11, 2003, and sat out the entire 2004 season.

"I'd like to put behind me the past year and a half," said the
29-year-old right-hander, who gave up four runs on eight hits in
his third start of the season.

"You look back on it and know that's what you went through but
you really try not to put it in front of you. You try to put it in
the back, file it away. You take this game and know what it means
and not take it for granted."

The Royals sank deeper into despair with their seventh straight
loss and an embarrassing three-pitch relief outing by Shawn Camp.
Their record of 5-16 is the worst in the major leagues.

After they scored three in the sixth to tie it 4-all, Brian
Anderson (1-2) started the seventh by walking Michael Cuddyer and
giving up a single to Nick Punto.

Camp came on and his first pitch was wild, allowing Cuddyer to
score from third. His second hit Shannon Stewart. Then Bartlett
smacked Camp's third into shallow right field, where Terrence Long
tried to make a shoestring catch but let the ball get past him for
a two-run triple.

Jaime Cerda then relieved and gave up a sacrifice fly to Joe
Mauer to make it 8-4.

"Obviously, it's just one of those situations when I come in
and do damage control, get a punch-out or a ground ball," Camp
said. "Things just didn't go my way. I'm getting the ball up. I'm
just trying to get untracked."

Bartlett hardly knew what to expect.

"I asked Mauer if I should take a pitch, he hasn't come close
to the strike zone. I figured he's not going to paint the corners
right here," Bartlett said. "He'll throw me something pretty much
down the middle. I got one and hit it to right field."

Punto, who had three hits, had an RBI single off Mike MacDougal
in the eighth.

The Royals are 2-11 at home and 4-21 in their last 25 home games
since last Sept. 11. It's their worst 21-game record since the 1992
club was 3-18 en route to a 72-90 season under Hal McRae.

Anderson went six innings and was charged with six runs on six
hits, with three walks and six strikeouts.

Long walked with two outs in the Royals sixth and scored on John
Buck's double to make it 4-2, then Ruben Gotay hit his second home
run for a 4-4 tie.

Mike Sweeney had an RBI double in the first for Kansas City.

Stewart had an RBI single off Anderson in the third inning and
later scored on Bartlett's RBI single.

"It's tough," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "We battled
back. We started that inning with the base on balls, then the hit
to right, the hit batter then the wild pitch. Long came very close
to catching that ball."

In the fourth, Jacque Jones singled ahead of LeCroy's third
^Notes: @ Twins RHP Grant Balfour underwent exploratory arthroscopic
surgery on his right elbow Wednesday in Cincinnati. Doctors will
examine the results and decide in a day or two whether to have
surgery. ... No Kansas City starter has won a game since Anderson
beat the Los Angeles Angels on April 10. ... Jones has hit safely
in 17 of his 18 games.