KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The man who got the save in Kansas
City's 5-4 victory Wednesday over the Chicago White Sox wasn't
following baseball the last time the Royals started a season 2-0.
Of course, Mike MacDougal was 2 years old at the time. "I don't remember much about that year,'' he said. MacDougal got his second save of the season when he got Frank
Thomas to hit into a game-ending double-play grounder Wednesday.
Confidence in the Royals' clubhouse couldn't get much higher. "We feel great,'' said MacDougal, a slender, hard-throwing
right-hander who got his first major league save with a hitless
ninth Monday. Joe Randa's two-run homer off Rick White (0-1) in the seventh
provided a 5-3 lead for the Royals, who filled their roster with
young players following last year's 100-loss season. "By no means do we feel we've turned the corner and we're the
team to beat,'' Randa said. "We've got a lot of things to work on and we're not going to
get ahead of ourselves. But the good thing is our pitchers are
throwing strikes and our defense is making plays. and we've come up
with some clutch hits. We have confidence in these young guys.'' With the score 3-all, Angel Berroa reached on a throwing error
by shortstop Tony Graffanino ahead of Randa's home run. "The race has gone off,'' said Chicago manager Jerry Manuel.
"We just haven't started yet. We're a little late coming out of
the blocks. We're still stretching. Everybody else is running.'' Albie Lopez (1-0) gave up an RBI single in the eighth to Armando
Rios. and MacDougal walked the leadoff batter in the ninth.
Graffanino then struck out when he fouled off a bunt attempt with
two strikes. Thomas' grounder sealed it. "At the last second, it moved right in on me,'' Thomas said.
"There's nothing I could do with that one. He throws a hard
sinker.'' Raul Ibanez was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs for the
Royals. Bartolo Colon made his first start for the White Sox, who
acquired him from Montreal during the offseason in a three-team
trade. Colon, 20-8 for Cleveland and the Expos last year, allowed
three runs, four hits and three walks in six innings, striking out
two. "He's throwing 98 (mph), but his command wasn't there,''
Chicago catcher Sandy Alomar said. "When he's throwing the ball
inside to right-handers, the ball was sinking in. He's pretty close
to being where he needs to be on his command.'' Royals starter Jeremy Affeldt gave up two runs and five hits in
5 2-3 innings, striking out four. Chicago, which outhit the Royals 10-6, took a 2-0 lead in the
third on a throwing error by right fielder Dee Brown following
Graffanino's single and Magglio Ordonez's sacrifice fly. Mike Sweeney's RBI single and Raul Ibanez's sacrifice fly tied
the score in the bottom half, and Ibanez put the Royals ahead with
an RBI double in the fifth. Thomas made it 3-3 with an RBI single
in the seventh off Lopez.
Berroa made a nice play on Joe Crede's high bouncer to
shortstop in the fourth. He stood flat-footed, barehanded the ball
and then threw to first. ... Sweeney dropped a throw from 2B Desi
Relaford that would have ended the seventh with a double play.