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Royals rookie Hernandez wins second straight start

8/11/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Royals manager Tony Pena was just being
cautious when he took his rookie right-hander out after five
shutout innings.

Runelvys Hernandez and three Royals relievers combined on a
two-hitter, and Joe Randa hit a three-run homer as Kansas City
defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 10-0 Sunday.

The 24-year-old Hernandez allowed only a leadoff single to Brent
Abernathy, while walking one and striking out three. He left the
game after throwing just 59 pitches.

"He was just tired,'' Pena said. "It was hot. We had a
nine-run lead, so there was no reason to send him out again. There
is nothing wrong with him.''

Hernandez said his elbow was "a little sore and a little
tired.'' Trainer Nick Swartz said Dr. Tom Phillips checked
Hernandez's arm after he left and found no swelling.

Hernandez (3-1) has won his past two starts, allowing five hits
and three runs in 11 innings.

Relievers Ryan Bukvich, Jason Grimsley and Roberto Hernandez
completed the Royals' first shutout since July 13, 4-0 against
Anaheim.

Randa homered in the first after Carlos Beltran walked and Raul
Ibanez reached on an error. Randa has 63 RBI this season and is
two shy of 500 for his career.

"Yesterday was a setback (13-6 loss) and today we got back on
our feet,'' Randa said. "I think we felt that going into today
that the team that was going to score early was going to come out
on top.''

Aaron Guiel hit a solo homer in the first to extend his hitting
streak to eight games. Guiel, also, singled home a run in the
fifth.

"He (Devil Rays starter Jose Sosa) fell behind 2-0,'' Guiel
said of his home run. "It takes a lot of guesswork out of hitting
on that count. You know a fastball is coming, especially from a
pitcher like him, who has control problems.

"Guys were patient at the plate against him, which was very
much the key. When the count is 1-0, 2-0, it becomes so much easier
to hit because his options are limited.''

Carlos Febles led off the second with his fourth home run and
his first since July 4 at Oakland. Febles, who had three hits, was
optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game.

Kansas City's first three home runs were off Devil Rays rookie
right-hander Jorge Sosa, a Rule 5 draft pick who spent his first
six seasons of professional baseball as an outfielder before making
the switch to the mound in 2001.

Sosa (1-6) allowed five runs -- four earned -- on four hits before
being replaced by left-hander Steve Kent to start the fourth. Sosa
has lost his past four starts, not pitching more than 5 2-3 innings
in each.

"Sosa needs to throw more strikes,'' Devil Rays manager Hal
McRae said. "He's struggling now. When he lets one go, he can't
throw a strike. When he lets up, they hit it out. That's not a good
combination.''

Michael Tucker homered in the eighth off Jesus Colome, the
fourth Devil Rays pitcher, for the final run.

In the Royals' three-run fourth, Neifi Perez led off the inning
with a single and moved to second on balk by Kent. He scored on
first baseman Aubrey Huff's throwing error, his second fielding
miscue of the afternoon.

Febles scored on Beltran's double. Chuck Knoblauch scored on an
Ibanez ground out for the third run.

Game notes
The Royals stole three bases Sunday, bringing their
American League-leading total to 112. ... Huff went 0-for-4,
snapping his eight-game hitting streak. ... SS Chris Gomez started
for the Devil Rays after sitting out the previous seven games. ...
RF Ben Grieve leads the Devil Rays with 95 strikeouts, including 46
called third strikes. ... The Royals improved to 8-9 with Guiel
batting second.