Royals pound Pirates to finish off three-game sweep

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- These are, after all, the two losingest
teams in the majors, so it was fitting that they would close out
their series with a sloppy game.

Kansas City beat Pittsburgh 15-7 on Thursday in a game that
included four errors, 13 walks, nine unearned runs, two wild
pitches, three hit batsman and a zany double play.

"A lot of mistakes," said Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy. "It
was just a medley of things."

The wild victory gave the Royals (22-49) a three-game sweep of
the Pirates (26-48), who have lost a season-long eight straight and
are 1-8 against the AL this season.

It was also the fourth straight victory for the Royals, who
erased 4-0 deficits in winning the first two in this interleague
showdown between the worst teams in the AL and NL.

"Great game, huh?" said Royals manager Buddy Bell. "We did a
lot of things good. We did some things that were unacceptable as

Kansas City scored two or more runs in six separate innings for
the first time since 1991. But perhaps as unusual as anything was
the fact the Royals had four innings where they recorded more runs
than hits.

"Man, that was a long game," said Kansas City outfielder
Reggie Sanders, who scored four times. "It feels like we played

Emil Brown and Tony Graffanino drove in three runs apiece and
Scott Elarton (3-8) went 5 2/3 innings and gave up six hits and
four runs. But only one was earned as the Royals committed two
errors for the second consecutive game.

Kansas City pulled off a strange, lucky double play in the
sixth, but the Pirates still scored three runs thanks to an infield
error that infuriated Bell and had fans booing shortstop Angel
Berroa the rest of the game.

After Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez singled, Craig Wilson lifted
a lazy fly to shallow right-center. The runners froze as second
baseman Mark Grudzielanek camped under the ball.

But he lost it in the sun, and the ball dropped cleanly to the
turf. So Grudzielanek picked it up and threw to second for the
forceout on Sanchez, then Berroa threw to third baseman Mark Teahen
for the tag on Bay.

It cost the Pirates two runs because Joe Randa then hit an RBI

"It was weird. Every day there's something strange happening,"
said Grudzielanek. "It's a learning experience out there. It
turned out to be a great thing for us."

But then reliever Todd Wellemeyer walked Jose Castillo and threw
a wild pitch that put runners at second and third. And Humberto
Cota hit a popup in the infield that dropped out of Berroa's glove
for an error as Randa and Castillo raced home to make it 7-5.

Bell said Berroa should not even have been the one to make the

"There were two or three other guys calling for it. Just
dropping the ball is one thing," Bell said. "But miscommunication
is another."

Berroa insisted the booing he endured the rest of the game did
not bother him.

"I don't worry about those guys. Let them do whatever they want
to do," he said.

The Royals scored four unearned runs in the seventh with the
help of two Pirates errors. First, shortstop Jack Wilson mishandled
a routine grounder with two outs that allowed one run to score.
Then Brown tripled to right-center for two RBI and came home when
Castillo threw wildly to third.

"We made some mistakes that helped create a four-run inning,"
said Tracy. "Actually, the way that game went, we got back in the
game twice. Of all the different things that occurred, we actually
got back in the game twice and handed it back to them twice."

Paul Maholm (2-6) went 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs and
six hits. He walked five, and every one of them scored.

"That's pretty much what happens when you walk a lot of guys,"
he said. "They're going to come around and score. I was just wild
and it was a pretty poor outing from the get-go."

Game notes
The nine unearned runs were two behind the major
league-high for the season of 11 unearned runs allowed in the
Royals' 16-12 victory over Texas on June 8. ... The start was
delayed 31 minutes by rain.