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Bases-loaded double in 7th the key

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- If Dennys Reyes craved instant
gratification, he'd have quit baseball long ago.

The soft-spoken left-hander had gone 26 straight appearances
without a decision, including six starts. Then Carlos Beltran's
bases-loaded double propelled him and the Kansas City Royals past
the Minnesota Twins 5-2 Saturday.

Reyes (1-0) went seven innings in his fifth start for the
Royals, giving up six hits and two runs for his first win since he
beat Seattle on Sept. 9, 2002. It was his first win as a starter
since Sept. 6, 2002 against Tampa Bay.

"Every time I went out, I just tried to do my best and keep the
game as close as I can so we can come back and win," he said.

He struck out five of his first six batters Saturday and
finished with eight strikeouts in seven innings. Only one of the
runs against him was earned.

"I had a good breaking ball," he said. "I didn't have the
good sinker but my breaking ball was working good today. They were
chasing quite a few breaking balls."

Jeremy Affeldt pitched the ninth for his third save in four
chances.

After Matt Stairs tied it 2-all with a solo homer in the
seventh, Johan Santana (2-3) gave up a single to Tony Graffanino
and a walk to Byron Gettis.

J.C. Romero hit Angel Berroa with an 0-2 pitch, loading the
bases for Beltran, who snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a line drive
into right-center.

Santana, coming off a three-inning outing that was the shortest
of his career, allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Minnesota lost its third straight.

"I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do," Santana
said. "I was throwing my fastball in and out and everything was
working pretty good. It seems like every time we make one mistake
it costs us the game."

Ken Harvey's sixth straight hit, a two-out, RBI double, put
Kansas City ahead in the first. Torii Hunter stopped an 0-for-16
skid with a run-scoring double in the fourth that scored Doug
Mientkiewicz, who slid home on a close play. Michael Cuddyer then
tripled for a 2-1 lead.

Beltran, the AL player of the month for April, had been
perplexed by his slump.

"I'm seeing the ball good. I don't know what's going on," he
said. "It seems like I can't get on top of the ball. In that
at-bat, I was going out there and just try to put the ball in play.
J.C. threw me a sinker right down the middle and I was able to hit
it. As soon as I hit it I knew it was in the gap."

Royals manager Tony Pena threw back his head and laughed when
asked if he'd even considered pinch-hitting for his star
outfielder.

"No," he said. "He's having his struggles. But the horses
always step in at the right time. That's what good players do. They
brought in a very, very tough relief pitcher and he got a big hit.
I was so happy for Carlos."

Cuddyer went 2-for-2 with two walks and has reached in nine
straight plate appearances.

Game notes
The Twins have lost seven in a row and 14 of 18 when
scoring three runs or fewer. ... Umpire Charlie Reliford, scheduled
to work second base, left because of a death in his family and was
replaced by Mike Jost. ... C Joe Mauer had one hit in his first
game at Triple-A Rochester and the Twins remained confident he
would rejoin the team some time next week. He had knee surgery
after going on the DL on April 5. ... When Santana struck Harvey
out with a changeup in the fourth, it was the first time in eight
plate appearances the DH/1B had not reached.