Royals lose Sanders but win again, beating up on Angels

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Reggie Sanders' latest injury may have cost him a chance at joining a contender.

At least the last few days, the Kansas City Royals are playing like one.

The Royals placed the veteran outfielder on the 15-day disabled list with a right thigh strain Friday. His roster spot went to right-hander Runelvys Hernandez, who went out and threw 7 1/3 strong innings to beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3.

"I've been working really hard in [Triple-A] Omaha and I was expecting to
get something better like this," Hernandez (2-4) said. "I felt
really comfortable. I don't hate the minor leagues. It's a good
example of if you make a mistake you have to pay for it."

Hernandez took Scott Elarton's spot in the rotation. Elarton was placed
on the disabled list July 18 with a shoulder injury that may cost
him the rest of the season. The Royals have not released details,
but manager Buddy Bell said Thursday that it looks like Elarton
could be done for the season.

Bell was very pleased with Hernandez' efforts Friday.

"He really had great command with every pitch he had--his
change-up, his breaking ball. His fastball had some movement,"
Bell said. "The only mistake he had was to [Maicer] Izturis, the
last hitter he faced.

"Other than that he was pretty flawless."

David DeJesus and Mark Grudzielanek each hit three-run homers to
back Hernandez.

"I don't know how many three-run home runs we've had this year,
but it hasn't been many," Bell said. "We haven't hit many home
runs period. To get two (three-run home runs) in one game is pretty

"Runelvys (Hernandez) pitches the same way, regardless of the
score. But having the cushion makes it harder on the opponent."

Bartolo Colon (1-5) gave up four runs and four hits in six
innings. He walked two and struck out one. It was the third
straight loss for the Angels, who entered the four-game series
having won 13 of their first 15 games to start the month of July.

"Bart, outside of the pitch to DeJesus that got back into the
heart of the plate, didn't pitch that poorly," Los Angeles manager
Mike Scioscia said. "If anything, the ball was up a little bit and
moved too much. He pitched well enough to give us a chance to win.

"Hernandez did a good job of changing speeds. We couldn't get
much going."

Kansas City took a 3-0 lead in the third inning on DeJesus'
three-run homer. With two runners on, DeJesus hit the first pitch
388 feet over the wall in right field, scoring Tony Graffanino and
Joey Gathright. It was DeJesus' fifth home run of the season.
Graffanino led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a
ground ball. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera flipped the ball to second
baseman Adam Kennedy, who bobbled the throw, allowing Graffanino to
be safe.

Los Angeles cut the lead to two in the fourth when Vladimir
Guerrero scored on a wild pitch.

Kansas City extended the lead to 4-1 in the fourth on an RBI
groundout by Mark Teahen.

The Royals scored four runs off reliever Brendan Donnelly in the
seventh, including three on Grudzielanek's home run. Gathright led
off the seventh with a triple down the right-field line. DeJesus
then walked before Grudzielanek's fourth home run of the season.
After Doug Mientkiewicz walked, Emil Brown hit a run-scoring

Izturis chased Hernandez with a two-run homer in the eighth to
make it 8-3. It was Izturis' second homer of the season.

Sanders was placed on the DL for the first time this season just as teams have started to show interest in the 38-year-old before the July 31 trade deadline. One of the notable clubs is the New York Yankees, who are trying to fill holes created by injuries to outfielders Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui.

"The medical staff recommended that we put him on the DL,"
Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said of Sanders. "They did an MRI and found some bleeding
in a hot spot there. He wouldn't be available, at best, until the
middle of next week. This only puts him out there four or five more
days, because he is eligible to come off next Sunday."

Bell said there was no concern the injury might be long-term.

"I'm not exactly sure if it's grade 1 or 2, but every
indication that I've gotten is that it's not a major issue," he
said of the move, which was retroactive to July 16.

Sanders is hitting .244. He's tied for the team lead with nine
home runs and has 43 RBI, which is second on the team.

Game Notes
The Royals drew four walks Friday, giving them 125 over
their last 28 games, best in the major leagues over that span. ...
The Angels committed their 78th error of the season, the most in
the American League. With an unearned run in the third, they now
have allowed a major league-leading 65, after only allowing 45 all
of last year.