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Royals open with eight consecutive victories

4/12/2003

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kansas City manager Tony Pena is in no rush to
find a cure for his flu-ridden Royals.

The Royals became the first team in 13 years to begin the season
with eight consecutive victories, beating the Cleveland Indians 1-0 Friday
night behind seven sharp innings from Runelvys Hernandez.

''Sure, let's keep it going,'' Pena said when asked if he
wouldn't mind the flu bug lingering as long as the Royals kept
winning.

''We started the game with 16 guys sick, Mike Sweeney got it
during the game and our closer was sick in the bullpen. That's
18.''

Rookie Mike MacDougal made it 6-for-6 on save chances as the
surprising Royals extended the best start in team history.

The last major league club to start 8-0 was the 1990 Cincinnati
Reds, who went on to win the World Series.

Hernandez (3-0) allowed seven hits, struck out four, and lowered
his ERA to 0.45. Jason Grimsley pitched a perfect eighth.

Shane Spencer opened the Indians' ninth against MacDougal by
hitting a drive over the head and off the glove of right fielder
Desi Relaford. But Spencer was thrown out trying to stretch it into
a triple.

''I was mad that it tipped off my glove and just picked it up
and threw it as hard as I could,'' Relaford said. ''I just tried to
keep it on line and got a couple nice bounces.

''When I saw the umpire make the call, (center fielder) Michael
Tucker and I were doing high-fives. It was like we were Little
Leaguers again, it was so much fun.''

MacDougal, who vomited moments earlier, felt miserable in the
bullpen.

''How about that throw? Unbelievable!'' he said. ''Now, I'm
feeling good.''

Pena said he thought Spencer took a good gamble against Relaford, who
plays primarily in the infield. Indians manager Eric Wedge was not
so sure.

''Shane was being aggressive, but with nobody out, he probably
should have stayed at second,'' Wedge said.

Kansas City scratched out the only run in the fifth against Jake
Westbrook (0-2). Dee Brown drew a leadoff walk and advanced on a
groundout. After another groundout, Angel Berroa singled to center
and Brown just beat Milton Bradley's throw home, which got past
catcher Tim Laker.

Westbrook, who had not pitched since losing the season opener in
relief March 31, allowed one run and three hits over six
innings. The right-hander struck out three, walked one and got 10
groundball outs.

The Indians put the first batter on base in three innings
against Hernandez, but each time he shut them down.

''I'm not surprised,'' Pena said. ''He's got four good pitches
and he's not afraid to use them at any time.''

The right-hander got Omar Vizquel to hit into a double play in
the first and retired the last two batters with two on in the
fourth.

Cleveland's best chance came in the fifth. Laker hit a one-out
double and went to third on a single by John McDonald. Hernandez
then got Bradley to pop weakly to second and Vizquel to fly out.

The Royals, who made four of their five errors this season
during a 4-2 victory Thursday in Detroit, turned in several other good
plays.

With a runner on first in the third, Tucker made an
over-the-shoulder catch near the warning track on a drive hit by
McDonald.

In the fifth, second baseman Carlos Febles fielded a sharp
grounder by Travis Hafner near the bag and shoveled it with his
glove to Berroa at shortstop, who had the better angle for the
throw to first to retire Hafner.

''We're finding ways to win,'' Relaford said. ''That's a
characteristic of a good team.''

Game notes
Only three umpires worked the game after crew chief Mike
Reilly became ill before the start. ... Royals starters have a 2.43
ERA this season. ... The Royals are 3-0 on the road after going
25-56 away from home last year. ... Indians outfielder Matt Lawton snapped
an 0-for-16 streak with a sixth-inning single, but is hitting .097
(3-for-31). ... Hafner went 0-for-4 and is in an 0-for-22 slide.
... Indians rookie left-hander Billy Traber pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings
of relief. ... Cleveland has batted .163 (17-for-104) after the
sixth inning this season. ... The Royals' last 1-0 victory also was against Cleveland on Sept. 27, 1997.