DENVER (AP) -- Joe Kennedy did something he hadn't done in his
last six starts: He kept his cool.
Kennedy pitched seven strong innings for his first victory in
more than a month, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Kansas City
Royals 9-4 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep."Joe stayed in control," Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle
said. "He gave up two runs in the first inning and settled in the
rest of his outing. They had seven hits, but all of them were
ground ball singles. Even in the inning they scored, all the hits
were on the ground and that meant he was keeping the ball down."Kennedy (4-7) allowed two runs and seven hits, with six
strikeouts and no walks. He was 0-3 with two no-decisions since
beating Pittsburgh on May 22.Kennedy, who saw his ERA drop from 7.33 to 6.92, left abruptly
out a side door without comment.Garrett Atkins had a career-high four hits and three RBI, and
Todd Helton had two hits as the Rockies got their second series
sweep of the season.Jose Lima (1-6) gave up four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings,
and Mark Teahen had two hits and an RBI for the Royals, who lost
their sixth straight."Four runs in six hits in this ballpark? Come on," Lima said.
"I was just one pitch away from getting through it and keeping us
in the game."Kansas City scored twice in the first inning. David DeJesus
opened with a single, advanced to third on Emil Brown's two-out
single to center and scored on Teahen's single to right field.
Brown, who reached third on Teanhen's hit, scored on Justin Huber's
single to center.Colorado tied it in the bottom of the inning. Atkins doubled to
left with one out, and moved to third on Helton's single off Lima's
glove. Preston Wilson followed with an RBI single to center, and
Helton scored on Brad Hawpe's grounder to second.Kennedy settled down, retiring 18 of 21 batters over the next
six innings.Colorado chased Lima with a two-run fifth to make it 4-2. Atkins
had an RBI single and Helton an RBI double with two outs. Lima
departed after walking Wilson and Hawpe to load the bases.Kennedy helped himself with a perfectly placed bunt on a safety
squeeze bunt in the sixth. Desi Relaford drew a leadoff walk, stole
second, moved to third on a fly out to right and scored on
Kennedy's bunt to first.Dustan Mohr hit a solo homer for Colorado in the seventh. Atkins
had a two-run double and Relaford was hit by a pitch with a bases
loaded in the eighth inning."I'm starting to feel real comfortable at the plate," Atkins
said. "I've slowed things down, not trying to do too much like I
did before."Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs hit a two-run homer, his eighth, off
Matt Anderson in the ninth."I hate to keep giving pitchers credit, but a lot of it this
weekend has to do with them," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said.
"And there isn't a whole lot more I can say."
Mike Sweeney felt some tenderness in his wrist a day after
taking batting practice. Sweeney is due to come off the DL on July
1. ... Brown's hit in the first extended his hitting streak to 13
games. ... Kennedy received an ovation when he laid down a safety
suicide bunt in the sixth. ... The Rockies have set Monday as the
day 2B Aaron Miles will return from the DL. ... Helton, who had two
hits, had only his sixth RBI in his last 19 games.