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Indians jump on Royals early, cruise to victory

9/21/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Jason Davis got some important early
support to earn his first career win.

Ellis Burks and Jim Thome hit consecutive home runs in the first inning as the Cleveland Indians cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

"It's a great feeling,'' Davis said. "There's some excitement
going, some pretty good nerves. You just have to be able to stay
within yourself and keep your team in the ballgame.''

Given a 3-0 lead before he took the mound, Davis (1-0) gave up
one run and three hits in five innings to get the win in his third
major league appearance.

''(Davis) kept the ball down and used all his pitches,'' Indians
manager Joel Skinner said. "The biggest thing was when he got some
guys on base, he was able to entice a double play. He did some good
things for us tonight.''

Wes Obermueller (0-1), making his major league debut for the
Royals, gave up four runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"It was a fun experience today. You work to get up here. It was
very exciting,'' he said. "Right into the fire. It speeds up your
learning process, and that's what I wanted.

"You try not to pay attention to who's in the box, but you
can't help but notice all these guys. There's some big names in
there who can swing the bat pretty good. You definitely have to
keep the ball down. It doesn't take much for them to turn something
around.''

The Indians spoiled Obermueller's debut early. Milton Bradley
led off the game with an infield single. With one out, Burks hit a
two-run homer to left center. Thome followed with a 434-foot home
run, his 47th, into the fountains in left center.

"Ellis and Jimmy put real nice swings on those balls,'' Skinner
said. "Regardless of whether the (opposing) pitcher is making his
major league debut or not, you don't want him to settle in. That
goes for any starting pitcher.

Burks went 3-for-5 with three RBI.

The Indians scored again in the fourth when Greg LaRocca singled
to center with two outs, scoring Karim Garcia.

Once he was handed the lead, Davis was able to stay in control.

"I was able to locate my fastball early in the game and that
helped me,'' he said. "My split bailed me out of some jams. I was
able to get my fastball in on some hitters and get some bat
contact. I got a big double play (with a runner on and no outs in
the fourth inning).

The Royals are 2-16 in their last 18 home games and need to win
four of their final eight games to avoid their first 100-loss
season in franchise history.

Royals first-base coach Tom Gamboa was back on the field, one
day after he was attacked by two fans at Comiskey Park. Gamboa
received a warm ovation from the Kansas City crowd.

The Royals, who were tied with the Indians for third place on
July 21, now trail Cleveland by 10 games. They assured themselves
of finishing no better than fourth place for the fourth straight
year.

Kansas City has scored just seven runs in their last five games.

The Royals finally got on the board in the fifth. Angel Berroa
led off with a walk, then scored on Dee Brown's double down the
left-field line. Davis then retired the next three batters to
escape further damage.

The Indians tacked on a run in the eighth inning on LaRocca's
RBI single and Burks hit an RBI double in the ninth.

Game notes
Kansas City has had 14 straight non-winning months and has
not had a non-losing month since June 2001. ... Thome extended his
streak of reaching base safely to 48 games. It's the longest
current streak in the major leagues. Thirty-seven of his 47 home
runs have come off righties. ... Burks extended his hitting streak
to 10 games (17-for-38, .447). ... Royals 1B Mike Sweeney went
1-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch, keeping his batting average at .342,
second in the AL to Manny Ramirez of Boston (.345).