ATLANTA (AP) -- Angel Berroa is starting to get his stroke back.
"I had a problem with headaches, and then it seemed like I lost
my swing," said the 2003 AL Rookie of the Year. "Now I feel
better all over."
Berroa hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and the Kansas
City Royals had their most hits in almost four years, rallying for
a 10-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.
Joe Randa went 4-for-5 with an RBI double and Berroa had three
hits and drove in a career-high four runs for the Royals, who ended
a two-game losing skid. Kansas City had 20 hits for the first time
since Aug. 5, 2001, at Minnesota.
"Our offense was supposed to be our strength this year, and we
haven't lived up to our capabilities," Randa said. "Hopefully we
can carry this over and have some fun at the ballpark."
Trailing 3-1 going into the eighth, the Royals scored four times
on five hits off reliever Chris Reitsma (3-2), including Carlos
Beltran's go-ahead RBI single.
"I'll admit it," Reitsma said. "I just stunk tonight. That's
the bottom line."
They broke it open in the ninth on Randa's RBI double, a squeeze
bunt by Berroa, an RBI single by Beltran and a two-run double by
pinch-hitter Damian Jackson.
The Royals, who entered with a 7-22 road record that was worst
in the majors, improved to 3-30 this year when trailing after
Berroa's second season has hardly resembled his first, when he
hit .287 with 17 homers and 73 RBI. The 26-year-old shortstop was
batting just .216 when migraine headaches landed him on the
disabled list in April. He returned May 1, but entered Wednesday
with a .227 average since then.
"They've been pitching me a little different," Berroa said.
"Everything has been harder this year."
Jaime Cerda (1-1) pitched a scoreless seventh to earn his first
Reitsma ruined a solid outing by Atlanta starter Jaret Wright,
who was attempting to win his third straight start for the first
time in over five years.
Wright allowed eight hits, one run and two walks in 5 1-3
innings. The right-hander struck out four.
Antonio Alfonseca pitched a scoreless seventh, but Reitsma
allowed two hits to begin the eighth.
Berroa then followed with his fifth homer and third in his last
six games. He also drove in three runs for the second time since
Rafael Furcal gave Atlanta the lead with his 10th career leadoff
homer and first since last July 10 at Chicago's Wrigley Field.
"It was good to shut down the middle of their lineup," Gobble
said after Kansas City pitchers held the Braves' 3-4-5-6 hitters to
three combined hits in 18 at-bats. "I went at them and tried to
throw strikes. I made a few mistakes they didn't hit."
Wright escaped trouble in the fourth after Matt Stairs led off
with a double and moved to third on Randa's single. After Wright
got Benito Santiago to ground into a double play that scored Stairs
and cut the lead to 3-1, Berroa flew out to end the inning.
Scott Sullivan allowed Furcal's RBI groundout to first in the
eighth that cut the lead to 5-4.
Jesse Garcia replaced 3B Chipper Jones as a pinch-runner
and stayed in the game for the second straight night. Jones,
fighting a sore right hamstring, singled to lead off the seventh,
but he committed a throwing error in the top half of the inning.
... The game began 21 minutes late after the grounds crew uncovered
the infield. After one thunderstorm passed by, rain began to fall
in the eighth.