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Royals' Sweeney takes over AL batting lead

9/22/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Karim Garcia said he is just looking for
an opportunity to play everyday and the Cleveland Indians are
providing it.

Garcia hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning and
the Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-5 Sunday.

Garcia connected off Jason Grimsley (4-7) with one out for a 5-3
lead.

"With the count 2-2, I was looking dead red for a fastball,''
Garcia said. "He ended up hanging a slider.''

Garcia was in spring training with the Indians, but when he did
not make the opening day roster he signed a Triple-A contract with
the New York Yankees.

He was up with the Yankees for two games before being released
and then came back to the Indians. After hitting .396 with in 23
games Buffalo, the Indians brought him up on Aug. 6.

Garcia has been an RBI machine, driving in 51 runs, the most in
the majors since Aug. 6.

"The timing couldn't be better,'' Indians manager Joel Skinner
said of Garcia's 15th home run. "We needed that.''

Angel Berroa hit an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth. Raul
Ibanez tried to score the tying run on the hit, but was thrown out
at the plate on a relay from second baseman Brandon Phillips.

"Brandon made an unbelievable throw and I just planted my foot
to block the plate,'' catcher Eddie Perez said.

Omar Vizquel hit a solo home run in the ninth to give the
Indians a 6-4 lead.

Mike Sweeney had an RBI single in the Royals ninth. He went
3-for-5 and took over the AL batting lead at .347.

Ibanez hit a two-run double in the sixth, giving him 101 RBI.
He entered this season with 112 career RBI in four-plus years in
the majors.

"I'm glad I'll stop getting messages about 99 and all the other
stuff that goes with it,'' Ibanez said of reaching the century
mark. "I'm glad it's over with. It's off your back and now I can
go and continue playing the season.

"I'm disappointed that it came on a day, that we wind up
losing, but grateful that's over.''

C.C. Sabathia (12-11) improved to 6-2 in his past 10 starts. He
gave up two earned runs in seven innings.

Danys Baez pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

Royals starter Darrell May walked Greg LaRocca and Brandon
Phillips in the second inning, and both eventually scored.

"I started off slow and didn't know if I was going to make it
through the third inning, but then I regained my composure,'' May
said.

Ellis Burks hit his 30th home run in the third, a solo shot. It
marked the fourth time in his career Burks has had at least 30 home
runs in a season.

May left after seven innings and 101 pitches, allowing two
earned runs and six hits.

"He threw the ball well,'' Royals manager Tony Pena said. "At
the beginning of the game he was real slow, but he found the tempo
of the game and he started to throw the ball well.''

Game notes
The Royals purchased the contract of C Dusty Wathan from
Triple-A Omaha, where he hit .288 in 49 games. He is the son of
John Wathan, who played 10 years with the Royals and managed the
club from 1987-1991. ... The Indians are 34-46 since trading
Bartolo Colon on June 27 to Montreal. ... The Royals will have to
win their final six games to avoid 97 losses, which would match the
club record for defeats in a season. ... The Royals have lost 17 of
their past 20 home games.