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Thomas' broken-bat HR Suppan's only mistake

4/7/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Jeff Suppan knew the Kansas City Royals
needed a well-pitched game Sunday after being blown out 14-0
Saturday by the Chicago White Sox.

Suppan gave the Royals just that in a 9-2 triumph over the White
Sox that gave Kansas City the series two games to one. Suppan (1-0)
held them to one run on six hits and no walks in seven innings. The
only run he allowed came on Frank Thomas' broken-bat homer in the
first.

"I take the approach every game that I'm going to give the best
I can," Suppan said. "That's my goal."

Suppan has been the Royals' Opening-Day starter for three
straight seasons, but has never won more than 10 games in a season.

"Suppan pitched a great game," manager Tony Muser said. "He
went right after them. He worked both sides of the plate real well.
He kept them at bay until we broke it open."

Suppan has yielded five home runs in two starts.

"I've never seen one (a bat) break in half and go out," Muser
said of Thomas' home run. "He's a strong guy."

Said Thomas: "I did it two years ago against Detroit. I mis-hit
it. I hit that ball today solid. It just exploded."

The Royals took a 3-1 lead into the seventh before breaking it
open with a six-run inning against three relievers.

Brent Mayne and Donnie Sadler opened the inning with singles and
moved up on Thomas' throwing error at first base. Chuck Knoblauch's
one-hop double to the left-center wall snapped an 0-for-16 skid and
made it 5-1.

"Knoblauch had a clutch hit," Muser said. "He's been
struggling, but I wouldn't call it a slump."

Joe Randa capped the burst with a three-run double. The big hit
came after Michael Tucker was walked intentionally.

"Randa is swinging the bat like he was two years ago," Muser
said.

Randa hit .304 with 106 RBI in 2000, but tumbled to .253 last
year.

White Sox starter Todd Ritchie (0-1), who pitched a one-hitter
against the Royals last July while with the Pittsburgh Pirates, had
retired 12 straight batters entering the sixth.

"I don't think I'm going to panic," Ritchie said. "It's just
one of those things. Sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes you
don't. It seems like early in the year I don't get a lot of the
breaks.

"I don't know what it is. I've just got to go out and keep
battling."

The Royals scored twice off Ritchie in the sixth for a 3-1 lead.
Neifi Perez led off with a triple and Carlos Beltran was hit by a
pitch. Mike Sweeney had an RBI groundout and Tucker singled home a
run.

Left-hander Damaso Martie replaced Ritchie and struck out Raul
Ibanez to end the inning.

The Royals made it 1-all in the second on Mayne's sacrifice fly.

Thomas had a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Game notes
Royals LHP Darrell May, on the disabled list with a
strained groin, is scheduled to make an injury rehabilitation start
Monday for Triple-A Omaha. If he has no setback, May is scheduled
to start Saturday at Cleveland. ... In two starts, Suppan has
walked none in 13 innings. ... The White Sox open the season with
nine straight road games before their home opener Friday. ...The
Royals optioned rookie right-hander Jeff Austin to Omaha after the
game.