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Kansas City hasn't had a 4-0 season start since '77

4/5/2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals are in unfamiliar
territory.

Michael Tucker's two-run single capped a four-run second inning
and the Royals won their fourth consecutive game to match the best
start in franchise history, beating the Cleveland Indians 5-1
Friday night.

The 1977 Royals were the only other Kansas City club to stay
unbeaten in the first four games, and they went on to win a
team-record 102 games.

''I didn't know how long it had been since the Royals won their
first four,'' said left-hander Chris George (1-0), who got his
first major league victory since 2001. ''I just knew I didn't want to
be the first guy here to get a loss.''

It's only the first week of the season, but the Royals are in
sole possession of first place for the first time since May 18,
1997.

''This is a great, great start for us,'' Tucker said. ''I think
it's safe to say nobody expected much of us this year.''

The Royals, who started the cold, blustery night as one of only
three unbeaten American League teams, swept Chicago in their first three games
and led the Indians 5-0 after three innings.

George went 6 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and one run while
walking one and striking out four.

Jason Davis, making his third major league start, lasted only
three innings in the chilling wind. He gave up five runs, seven
hits, hit a batter and threw two wild pitches.

The difference between this team and the Royals of the past
couple of years is stark, George said.

''There are very few similarities in the attitude, the
atmosphere in the clubhouse. We brought it with us from (spring
training),'' George said. ''It started there. We feel like we're
going to have a chance to win every time we go out there.''

Raul Ibanez singled and Ken Harvey walked to open the second,
then Angel Berroa and Mike DeFelice followed with run-scoring singles. The
runners moved up on Davis' wild pitch. Tucker, who was only
1-for-13 coming in, then singled to center to make it 4-0.

''I let the game get away from me a little bit in the second
inning,'' Davis said. ''I was overthrowing and they were sitting on
my fastball because I couldn't throw my slider or split for
strikes.''

Another wild pitch put Ibanez on third base in the third and
Desi Relaford's groundout made it 5-0.

Casey Blake singled off George's glove with one out in the
Cleveland fifth, went to second on a balk and scored on John
McDonald's single.

Billy Traber made his major league debut when he relieved Davis
starting the fourth and walked his first batter. He went three
innings and gave up one hit and three walks.

Royals' first baseman Mike Sweeney fouled a ball off his ankle
in the sixth and was replaced in the field in the eighth by Mendy
Lopez. The Royals said he was not seriously hurt.

''Traber was very impressive for his first time out there,''
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. ''I think once he got
comfortable he did an outstanding job running through those three
innings.''

Game notes
The Indians and Royals both had good spring trainings. The
Royals had the best record in Arizona, going 19-10, while Cleveland
had the best Grapefruit League mark, 19-11. ... George made a great
catch of Ellis Burks' line drive in the second, putting his glove
in front of his face just in time to stop the ball. ... The Royals'
1977 team lost to the Yankees three games to two in the ALCS. ...
Only eight players remain from the 2002 opening day roster for the
Indians. ... Davis beat Kansas City 6-2 last Sept. 20 for his only
career victory.