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Ibanez’s RBI Caps Wild Night for Royals

June 17, 2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Pitching well hasn’t worked. Getting big run support hasn’t gotten the job done. Darrell May is open to any suggestions to reverse his bad luck.

``I think I’m going to find a chicken head to hang in my locker and see if that will help,″ May said.

May appeared ready to snap a 15-start winless streak Monday night when he walked off the mound with a seven-run lead in the seventh inning only to watch the Kansas City bullpen blow it.

The Royals ended up winning 9-8 despite wasting an 8-0 lead when Raul Ibanez hit an RBI single in the ninth inning off Minnesota closer Eddie Guardado to beat the Twins.

May said he felt ``pretty darn sure″ his long drought was just about done when he left. Reliever Sean Lowe let an inherited run score to make it 8-2.

Then the Twins made it 8-5 in the eighth on Lew Ford’s three-run homer off Lowe. Then, as May watched in disbelief, they scored three more in the ninth off Mike MacDougal to tie it and snatch away his long-awaited win.

Despite the rally off Guardado (0-2), the Royals felt bad for May, who’s pitched at least fairly well in almost every outing. On this night, he went 6 1-3 innings and gave up two runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four.

But he’s 0-4 with 11 no-decisions since winning Sept. 11.

``I let them back in the game,″ Lowe said. ``I told Darrell, `You might win 20 in the second half as good as you’re pitching.′ He said, `Man, the second half can’t come quick enough.‴

In the only other AL games, Seattle beat Anaheim 6-3 and Chicago topped Boston 4-2.

The victory moved the Royals to within three games of first-place Minnesota in the AL Central.

``We never stopped playing,″ Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``That’s what this team’s all about. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it finished. You get yourself in that big of a hole, it makes it tough.″

Mike Sweeney hit a three-run homer off Kyle Lohse in the fifth inning and singled home two runs off Tony Fiore in the sixth.

Sweeney, whose two-run single in the bottom of the ninth beat San Francisco on Sunday, is hitting .381 with three home runs and 16 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak.

It was the sixth time he’d matched his career-high with five RBIs and the first time he’d done it since last June 20 against San Diego.

``It’s a bad omen when you have to tip your cap in the first game on a walkoff,″ said Minnesota’s Doug Mientkiewicz, who was 3-for-3 and, in some late-inning shuffling, made his first career appearance at second base.

Lohse, whose 2.91 ERA coming into the game was second best in the league, gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings.

Carlos Beltran had two hits for the Royals, including an RBI double, giving him six multihit games this month. He drew a leadoff walk from Guardado in the ninth and went to second on a wild pitch. After Ibanez singled, Beltran barely slid home under the tag.

``I was just in survival mode,″ Ibanez said. ``This was one of the wildest games of the year. I knew if anybody could score from second on that ball, Carlos could.″

MacDougal (3-3) got the win despite allowing three runs and four hits in the ninth.

``I feel bad, really bad for Darrell,″ said MacDougal. ``But at least we won the game.″

Mariners 6, Angels 3

At Seattle, John Olerud homered for his 2,000th career hit and Mike Cameron hit two home runs as the Mariners came from behind to beat Anaheim.

Olerud hit a 1-2 pitch into the right field stands for a two-run shot off Anaheim’s John Lackey (4-6), to tie the score at 3 in the fourth inning. Olerud received a standing ovation from the crowd at Safeco Field and tipped his batting helmet.

At 46-22, the Mariners have the best record in baseball. Atlanta (45-22) was idle after losing two of three games in a weekend series in Seattle.

Joel Pineiro (6-5) allowed three runs in the first and nothing else in 7 2-3 innings. Arthur Rhodes got four outs for his second save.

White Sox 4, Red Sox 2

At Chicago, Mark Buehrle (3-10) won for the first time in 13 starts and Joe Crede hit a three-run homer as Chicago beat up Boston’s bullpen after Pedro Martinez left the game.

The White Sox, held to one run in five innings against Martinez, broke through in a three-run sixth against Ryan Rupe (1-1). Martinez, making his second start since coming off the disabled list, left after 71 pitches as Boston tries to ease him back into form.

Rupe retired the first two batters in the sixth before walking Jose Valentin and giving up a single to Paul Konerko. Crede then connected for his sixth home run, giving the White Sox a 4-2 lead.

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