Royals win third straight in four-game series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- This town's got something it's lacked
for 10 years -- a pennant race.
Carlos Beltran and Joe Randa had three hits apiece Wednesday
night as the Royals beat Minnesota 8-6 and trimmed the Twins' lead
in the AL Central to just one game.
"It's been so enjoyable to come out to the ballpark and have
the fans behind you and really into the games, and have the games
mean something," Randa said. "We haven't had that in a long
The resurgent Royals have won eight of 11 after a 4-15 swoon
while the defending division champion Twins have been outscored
52-31 during a five-game losing skid. They've lost the first three
games of this four-game series with Kansas City, which lost a
team-record 100 games last year and hasn't been a contender since
"Then we're due," said first baseman Ken Harvey, who had two
hits and an RBI. "Now that we've won the first three of this
series, it almost puts more emphasis on winning all four. Why let
them up for air?"
Minnesota's Rick Reed (3-7), who came off the 15-day disabled
list to make his first start since May 31, was roughed up for nine
hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.
"He had good arm strength, his body was fine," manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "But he had no location. Everything was up."
The Royals' Mike Sweeney was removed in the third inning with
stiffness in the upper back.
"It's something I've been battling through for three or four
days and it's gotten worse and worse," said Sweeney, who spent the
rest of the game receiving alternating heat and ice on the back.
"Hopefully, the treatment I got tonight will make me ready to go
Chris George (8-4) went five innings and gave up five runs on 10
hits, walking one and striking out one. He left with the Royals up
7-4 after giving up a leadoff triple to A.J. Pierzynski in the
Mike MacDougal pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 19
Harvey, who had four hits and five RBIs the night before,
singled and doubled his first two trips to the plate, giving him
five hits and five RBIs in five at-bats.
After third baseman Corey Koskie's fielding error allowed Raul
Ibanez to score from third in the second, Kansas City scored four
times in the third on Beltran's RBI single, Harvey's RBI double and
a two-run single by Michael Tucker.
Justin Morneau drove in a run for the Twins in the first, and
George gave up RBI singles in the fourth to Lew Ford and Jacque
The Royals scored twice in the bottom of the fourth on Randa's
RBI double and Beltran's second RBI single to go up 7-3. Torii
Hunter had a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Denny Hocking's
groundout scored Pierzynski in the sixth to trim Kansas City's lead
to 7-5.
Reed, who had been out with a sore back, got his glove on a hard
line drive off Harvey's bad in the second.
"My fastball, I didn't have a clue," he said. "My back's fine
but now my thumb hurts. It's a little bruised."
Ibanez's RBI single off Juan Rincon in the sixth made it 8-5,
and Ford had a run-scoring fielder's choice in the seventh.
Randa extended his team-record to 74 consecutive errorless games
at third base and made a diving stop of Doug Mientkiewicz's hard
grounder in the fifth, throwing from his knees to second for a
force out.

Game notes

Twins RHP Mike Fetters saw Dr. Lewis Yocum in California on
Wednesday about his sore elbow. Yocum withheld an opinion until
Fetters can fly back to Minnesota to have another MRI with the same
machine that was used for his first one. ... Royals SS Angel Berroa
was hit by a pitch in the fifth for the 11th time this year, tying
Toronto's Josh Phelps for the AL lead. ... Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire has been chosen a coach for the American League in the
All-Star game.