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Crowning achievement: Royals win fourth straight

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals are no longer the
laughingstock of the major leagues.

Luke Hudson allowed one run in five innings in his first start
of the season and John Buck and Matt Stairs homered to lead the
Royals to their fourth straight victory, 13-3 over the Toronto Blue
Jays on Friday night.

David DeJesus and Doug Mientkiewicz each had three hits and
drove in three runs for Kansas City.

The Royals, who lost 47 of their first 63 games, are 14-6 over
the past 20 games and the winning streak matches their longest of
the season. The Blue Jays have lost five of six.

"The thing I think I'm most proud of is there is an attitude
brewing here," Mientkiewicz said. "We've got a little bit of a
swagger going now. We have an expectancy to win. We're sick and
tired of reading about every time we win a game, that the other
team fell apart. But the bottom line is you have to earn respect.
Until we keep this going for more than three weeks, other teams
will get the idea we're not going to roll over and play dead.

"It's a confidence thing. When things go bad, everybody goes
bad. When things go well, everybody goes well. We've beat some
doggone good teams. I know no one in the National League wants to
see us."

The Royals went 10-8 in interleague play and then took two of
three from the Minnesota Twins, snapping their 11-game winning
streak. They won the first two games of the series against the Blue
Jays.

"All these top teams are top-tier teams, the (St. Louis)
Cardinals, too," DeJesus said. "We're playing our game and we're
able to beat them. We're manufacturing runs, we're playing great
defense and our pitching is doing a great job right now."

Why the turnaround?

"Pitching," Mientkiewicz said. "We've got five guys we can
throw out there and give us a chance to win and keep us in games.
When they throw the ball over the plate, we catch the ball
better."

Hudson, the Royals' 13th starting pitcher this season, gave up
two hits, walked one and struck out one. Hudson, who was 1-3 with a
7.24 ERA in 11 relief appearances, left after 72 pitches, 47 for
strikes.

Hudson (2-3) picked up his first win as a starter since Aug. 28,
2005, while with the Cincinnati Reds. The Royals signed Hudson as a
free agent on March 13, after the Reds released him in spring
training.

"I wanted to go out there and get ahead of the hitters,"
Hudson said. "The way we've been hitting the ball, good things
happen. My arm felt great. I got plenty of rest. The last time I
threw was Saturday, just two innings."

Toronto leads the league with a .291 average.

"I know the Blue Jays are a good-hitting ball team, but I
didn't want to get caught up in their numbers," Hudson said. "I
just wanted to do my job. That's all I can concentrate on. I just
want to keep doing what I'm doing, hopefully get the pitch count up
a little bit more and go deeper into the game next time."

Buck celebrated his 26th birthday with a two-run homer in a
four-run seventh that knocked out A.J. Burnett (1-3), who was
making his fourth start since coming off the disabled list with a
sore elbow. Buck homered after twice failing to put down a bunt.

"If you're going to redeem yourself, that's the way to do it,"
Royals manager Buddy Bell said.

Burnett, who threw a season-high 116 pitches, went six-plus
innings, allowing six runs -- two unearned -- nine hits and one walk,
while striking out four.

After Burnett left, Mientkiewicz hit a two-run double off Scott
Schoeneweis. The Royals have hit at least one double in 29
consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Stairs hit a solo home run, his eighth, in the sixth.

The Royals scored five unearned runs in the eighth, highlighted
by DeJesus' three-run double. The Blue Jays committed three errors
in the game, leading to seven unearned runs.

"It was ugly, no question," said Blue Jays bench coach Ernie
Whitt, who was acting as manager while John Gibbons is visiting his
sick father in San Antonio. "We're still not hitting. We got five
hits on the night. We make some errors, they score some runs. It's
a combination of everything.

"Buck failed on the sacrifice bunt and he hits a two-run homer
and the floodgates open. It's disappointing. A.J. threw the ball
OK. He struggled a little bit with his command."

The Royals took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on run-scoring singles
by Mark Teahen, who stretched his hitting streak to a career-high
10 games, and Tony Graffanino.

The Blue Jays got a run in the fifth on an RBI triple by Aaron
Hill, who had both hits off Hudson.

Russ Adams' two-run single with two outs in the seventh off
Elmer Dessens cut the Royals' lead to 4-3.

Game notes
Blue Jays OF Alex Rios was released Friday from a Toronto
Hospital. Rios went on the DL on June 28 with a staph infection in
his left leg. ... Toronto C Gregg Zaun, who walked twice, has
reached base in 33 of his 35 starts. ... Royals C Paul Bako was
placed on the 15-day disabled list with torn right oblique muscle
after the game.