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KC has worst MLB record at 13-28

5/23/2004

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Eric Byrnes keeps earning a spot in the lineup with big hits.

Byrnes singled in the winning run in the 10th inning and the
Oakland Athletics completed their second three-game sweep of the
Kansas City Royals in a week, 3-2 Sunday.

Arthur Rhodes (1-1) struck out two in the 10th for the win.
Byrnes hit a blooper down the right-field line against Nate Field
(2-1) to score Bobby Crosby.

"I didn't care where I hit it, I just tried to put it in play
and make something happen," Byrnes said. "In that situation,
that's all you can do."

Crosby reached on a fielder's choice, then made a gutsy steal of
second, just beating the tag by shortstop Angel Berroa. Mark
McLemore was intentionally walked to bring up Byrnes.

When asked what pitch he saw, Byrnes smiled and said, "A white
ball coming at me."

In Oakland's season opener last month, Byrnes had a pinch-hit,
two-run double with two outs in the eighth inning of a 5-4 victory
over Texas.

The A's have won a season-high five straight and eight of nine.
They've beaten the Royals 10 straight times, their longest streak
ever against Kansas City.

Oakland won 5-4 in 11 innings Saturday.

Mike Sweeney hit a solo home run for the Royals, who lost their
fourth straight and have the worst record in the majors at 13-28.
Oakland has outscored Kansas City 30-11 this season.

"It rips your heart out," Sweeney said. "After yesterday, you
don't think you can have a tougher loss than that, then this
happens 24 hours later."

A's manager Ken Macha is conservative about giving his players
the green light to steal -- following in the organization's mantra
of taking chances only when there's a high probability of success.

Crosby beat out a double play to get aboard in the 10th. When he
stole second, umpire Mike Everett almost signaled an out but
quickly gave the safe sign.

"He gave it to me," Crosby said of receiving Macha's
permission to run. "I was pumped. I would have lost it if he
called me out to be honest. Berroa was starting to say I was off
the bag. I was definitely safe. It was close."

Berroa, last season's AL Rookie of the Year, hit an RBI double
in the fifth to tie it at 2 and doubled again in the seventh.

Royals starter Dennys Reyes held the A's in check aside from two
early unearned runs, allowing Oakland only five hits through six
innings.

Rich Harden retired 10 of the first 11 Kansas City batters,
including five on strikeouts, before Sweeney connected for his
seventh homer of the year on the first pitch he saw in the fourth.

Harden was the losing pitcher in Oakland's 5-1 loss last Tuesday
to Detroit despite a solid outing.

The right-hander worked ahead in the count for much of the
afternoon Sunday but had his second no-decision in two career
starts against the Royals. He finished with six strikeouts in six
innings and gave up two runs on eight hits.

Harden worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. Matt
Stairs singled, Ken Harvey doubled and Desi Relaford was
intentionally walked. But Benito Santiago hit a shallow fly to
right for the second out and Brandon Berger flied to left.

Kansas City committed two costly errors in the second to give
the A's the lead. Second baseman Wilton Guerrero missed a routine
catch on a potential double-play ball that allowed Bobby Kielty to
reach first. Then, with Kielty off the bag, Reyes made a wild throw
on a pickoff attempt and threw his arms in the air in disgust.

"There's no room for error," Kansas City manager Tony Pena
said. "Every time we make an error or do something wrong, we pay
for it. Today, right away. ... It's the way things are going
now."

Game notes
Eric Karros' seventh-inning double for Oakland was his
second hit in his last 17 at-bats. ... The A's are 35-10 against
the Royals since 2000. ... Both teams are off Monday. The Royals
return home, while the A's head to Boston and Cleveland. ... More
fans (33,476) attended Sunday's game on Reggie Jackson bobblehead
day than did for Saturday's game (26,081), when Jackson was in the
stadium to have his No. 9 retired. ... A's 3B Eric Chavez got his
first day off this season. ... The A's swept the Royals in a
three-game set at home for the first time since May 25-27, 1999.
... When asked about the A's, Pena offered this: "The difficulty
with the A's? We're having difficulty with everybody."