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Slumping Lima gets rare victory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- All signs point toward a five-hit game
for Angel Berroa on Friday night.

Revitalized since being dropped lower in the lineup, Berroa had
one hit on Monday, then two on Tuesday and three on Wednesday.
Thursday night, leading Kansas City past Minnesota 8-5, he had four
hits with two RBI and two runs scored.

"I just go to home plate and swing," Berroa said. "I don't
want to think about getting five hits."

Berroa is 11-for-18 and has hit in five straight games since
manager Buddy Bell lowered the slumping shortstop from first and
second in the batting order to sixth and seventh.

"From the sixth spot, I can see more pitches from the bench,"
he said. "When those five guys go to the plate, I just watch how
they pitch those guys. I was struggling a little bit. Now I'm
working hard."

Berroa was 4-for-5 and had an RBI single in the seventh to reach
base for the eighth straight plate appearance, a streak that
included seven singles and a hit-by-pitch. He flied out in the
eighth.

Dropping Berroa in the order has proved the most effective
change Bell has made since he began settling in as manager on May
31.

"I probably should have done it sooner," Bell said.
"Sometimes a change of scenery does a guy good, whether it's
changing in the lineup, getting traded or whatever. Sometimes
change is good."

Jose Lima went 6 2/3 innings and won for the second time in 18
starts. He limited the Twins to three runs on eight hits to help
the Royals win three in a row for the first time since June 11-16.

There had been speculation, as he struggled start after start,
that his career could be coming to an end.

"I'm 32 years old. I think when you've got a fastball 90 mph,
91, you still got something left in your arm," Lima said. "I'm
not done. I always find a way to win ballgames."

Tony Graffanino had three RBI for the Royals, who are 16-18
under Bell.

"I'm happy for Berroa," said Lima, who had been 0-3 lifetime
against the Twins. "He was struggling. It feels good to see him
playing so well."

Kyle Lohse (7-7) gave up nine hits and four runs in five
innings. The right-hander woke up Wednesday morning with a sore
neck and his availability to start was not certain until just
before game time.

"He didn't get hit hard by any means, but we missed some plays
behind him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We could have
lessened the damage on Kyle. He went out there with a little bit of
a sore neck and all those things. He battled for five innings. It
wasn't his best performance of the year but he battled."

Nick Punto hit his second home run with one out in the first and
finished with four hits for the Twins, who lost their third
straight. Joe Mauer had three hits and three RBI, including a
two-run double in the ninth.

After Berroa's RBI single in the seventh, John Buck, on his 25th
birthday, hit a two-run single and Graffanino drew a bases-loaded
walk off Jesse Crain to make it 8-3.

Berroa and Emil Brown had RBI singles in the second, and the
Royals took a 4-1 lead in the fourth on Graffanino's two-run single
off Lohse. Mauer and Torii Hunter had RBI singles in the Minnesota
fifth, making it 4-3.

The Royals' 12 hits were all singles.

"An ugly baseball game by us," Gardenhire said. "We pretty
much stunk out there. We didn't do too much right. They were
aggressive. We threw the ball all over the field. Missed plays. We
didn't live up to our part of the game and it was pretty
disappointing."

Game notes
1B Mike Sweeney had some swelling on his left wrist after
being struck on Wednesday night by Seattle pitcher Aaron Sele's
pitch. Sweeney was out of the lineup but manager Buddy Bell said he
would be available soon. ... The Royals activated LHP Jeremy
Affeldt from the disabled list and optioned RHP Jonah Bayliss to
Triple-A Omaha. ... RHP Matt Guerrier was standing by to start if
Lohse's neck was too sore to let him go. ... The Twins are 7-2
against the Royals. ... Ruben Gotay fell down going around second
after Berroa's RBI single in the seventh and should have been an
easy out. But 2B Punto dropped the ball trying to tag him coming
back to the bag.