K.C. ends 10-game losing streak in interleague play

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- After embarrassing himself the night before, Emil Brown felt no sympathy for a humiliated David Eckstein.

Eckstein, the normally sure-handed St. Louis Cardinals shortstop, committed two errors in the first inning Sunday that led to six unearned runs, and the Kansas City Royals parlayed the gift runs into a 9-2 victory on interim manager Bob Schaefer's 61st birthday.

"I didn't feel bad for that guy at all after what happened to me last night," said Brown, who had three RBI and was still feeling chagrined for letting Larry Walker's sharp grounder get past him in the right field corner on Saturday night.

After missing Walker's ball, Brown compounded his misfortune by falling down while chasing it, allowing the heavy-footed Walker to come all the way around and score standing up.

"Let somebody else come in here and get some of those 'what happened?' questions," Brown said.

Still, Brown was only charged with one error while Eckstein, who led major-league shortstops with a .988 fielding percentage last year for Anaheim, suffered through the worst day of his career -- he added a third error in the second inning, which left him just two short of the major-league record.

"It just kills you inside," Eckstein said. "It just crushes you. I let the team down and especially [starter Jeff Suppan].

"This is the first time I've ever had such a day," he said.

Ryan Jensen (1-0), called up from Triple-A Omaha this week, went five innings for his first major-league victory since 2002 as the Royals snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Cardinals and a 10-game slide in interleague play.

When Eckstein's miserable day began, the Royals had a runner on first and nobody out. David DeJesus hit a potential double-play grounder right at him, but Eckstein bobbled it and both runners were safe.

It looked like he might get off the hook when Suppan got the next two batters out. But then Brown and Mark Teahen hit consecutive doubles, making it 3-0.

Matt Diaz then hit another routine grounder to Eckstein, but his throw pulled first baseman Albert Pujols off the bag as Teahen scored the fourth run. John Buck then hit a two-run homer over the fence in left, making it 6-0 in the first inning with all six runs unearned.

Eckstein, who had only six errors in 142 games last year, also had a two-run throwing error on Friday night and now has eight. No Cardinals shortstop had had three errors in one game since Edgar Renteria at Chicago on Sept. 9, 2000.

"You know in your heart you're going to make the next play," Eckstein said. "And the next play kept coming and I couldn't make it."

Jensen, who hadn't pitched in the majors since May 18, 2003, gave up two runs on three hits, with three walks and three strikeouts.

"I've always thought I could be here but I guess other people didn't," he said.

It was just the second loss in 17 interleague games for the Cardinals and kept Tony La Russa from tying Whitey Herzog for second place among St. Louis managers with 822 victories.

La Russa declined to discuss what one reporter referred to as Eckstein's "tough day."

"First of all, the Cardinals had a tough day. Our team had a tough day," he said. "Our team had a tough day, not just one player. Errors are a part of the game."

Suppan (3-5), the Royals' Opening Day starter three straight years beginning in 2000, was charged with nine runs -- three earned -- in five innings. He gave up nine hits and struck out five.

The Cardinals got an unearned run in the third on an error by Royals left fielder Diaz, who failed to pick up the ball cleanly on Pujols' RBI single, allowing a second runner to score.

Brown had a run-scoring single in the fifth, Ruben Gotay hit a solo homer and Matt Stairs had an RBI double for the Royals, whose record of 13-31 remains the worst in the majors.

"The type of year we've had, when we get breaks like that I don't think we can ever feel bad for anybody," said Buck. "We've been down. We've had games like that and nobody stopped and felt sorry for us. But I say that in respect. [Eckstein] is a good
player. He'll bounce back."

Game notes
First baseman Ken Harvey was placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday with recurring back problems. Taking his roster spot was Jensen. ... The Cardinals ended a nine-game road trip 5-4. ... The Cardinals' winningest manager was Red Schoendienst with 1,041 victories. ...
Gotay's steal of second in the fourth inning was the first of his career. ... Jensen's last major-league win came when he beat Houston for San Francisco on Sept. 29, 2002. ... The Royals had not beaten a National League team since besting Philadelphia last June 18.