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Sweeney breaks out of slump to key Royals' rout

4/15/2003

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Mike Sweeney was breathing easier, so he
returned to the Kansas City lineup and really cut loose.

Sweeney, recovered from the flu, hit a three-run double and a
solo home run as the Royals sought to start a new winning streak
Monday night with a 12-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

"It felt good to come through when the club needed me,'' said
Sweeney, who snapped a 1-for-17 slide with a bases-loaded double.
"It was a sigh of relief.''

Ken Harvey, Brent Mayne and Michael Tucker also hit solo homers
for Kansas City, which had its season-opening nine-game winning
streak snapped Sunday by the Indians.

"It's nice to see the boys came back right away,'' manager Tony
Pena said. "This game was like Opening Day again.''

The Royals' 10-1 start is the best in team history through 11
games.

Cleveland first-year manager Eric Wedge got his first ejection
in the top of the eighth inning after reliever Carl Sadler was
tossed for hitting Tucker with a pitch.

"I've never been thrown out before and the reason I'm mad is
there was no warning,'' Sadler said. "I truly didn't hit him on
purpose. I'm a situational lefty trying to get a lefty hitter out,
not hit him and load the bases.''

Tucker was the third batter and second Royals player hit in the
game, one day after the teams had words and were warned for
throwing close to hitters.

Two pitches after Carlos Febles lined a two-run single off
Sadler to put the Royals ahead 8-4, the left-hander hit Tucker in
the right arm with a 1-0 pitch. Plate umpire Jerry Crawford
immediately ejected Sadler. Wedge came out to argue and was tossed.

"Carl didn't have very good command,'' Wedge said. "The
umpire's point of view I think was coming off last night. My point
of view was my guy was struggling.''

Sadler threw just 11 pitches -- three for strikes.

"There's no bad blood,'' Sweeney said.

Pena agreed.

"We're here to play baseball, not fight,'' he said.

Jeremy Affeldt (2-0) won his second straight start, allowing
three runs and five hits over five innings. The left-hander twice
got out of two-on, one-out jams with double plays.

Milton Bradley hit his third homer and doubled for Cleveland. He
has hit safely in all 12 games this season.

Sweeney's bases-loaded double put the Royals ahead 5-3 in the
fifth against Brian Anderson (2-1).

Angel Berroa doubled and held second as the next two Royals
grounded out. He went to third when Tucker beat out a bunt single.
After Joe Randa walked, Sweeney sent a long drive to left that
caromed off the wall and eluded Matt Lawton, scoring all three
runners.

Harvey hit his first major league homer to put the Royals ahead
1-0 in the second. The rookie, who struck out four times Sunday,
lined a pitch just inside the left-field foul pole that appeared to
hit the yellow line atop the wall. Any ball hitting below the line
is in play.

Mayne led off the third with his third homer for a 2-0 lead.

Tucker made it 6-3 with his second homer with two outs in the
seventh, finishing Anderson. The left-hander allowed six runs and
eight hits over 6 2/3 innings and fell to 3-1 in his career against
Kansas City.

A walk, throwing error by Affeldt and consecutive RBI singles by
Ellis Burks, Shane Spencer and Lawton put Cleveland ahead 3-2 in
the bottom of the third.

Before that, Cleveland had hit just .020 (18-for-90) with
runners in scoring position this season.

Sweeney opened the ninth with his second homer, off Chad
Paronto. The Royals added three more runs on four hits and an
error.

Game notes
Harvey was hit in the side by a pitch from David Riske in
the eighth and Affeldt hit Spencer in the side with a pitch in the
second. ... The Royals went 9-for-18 in the final three innings.
... The Indians grounded into four double plays -- one more than
they hit into in their first 11 games. ... The Royals' Rontrez
Johnson singled in the ninth for his first big league hit -- and was
rewarded after the game with a shaving-cream pie in the face by his
happy teammates. ... Indians SS Omar Vizquel entered this year with
a .289 average against the Royals, but is just 1-for-20 against
them in 2003.