Damon is Shield in Royals’ Win
Johnny Damon homered and extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games in Kansas City’s 10-4 victory over Oakland on Sunday. However, his biggest contribution may have come on the basepaths.
While running to third on Jose Offerman’s seventh-inning single, Damon tried to get in the way of Ryan Christenson’s throw from center field.
The ball hit Damon in the backside and went into the dugout, allowing him to score the go-ahead run during a seven-run rally by the Royals.
“I wanted to make sure I got in the line of the ball, so if it was a close play it could hit off me,” Damon said. “In our situation, we need to take gambles, and this one paid off.”
The Royals had a season-high 16 hits, including at least one by all their starters. Their eight hits off five Oakland pitchers in the seventh--when Terry Pendleton and Mike Sweeney each had two hits--also were a season high.
Sweeney had the Royals’ first and last RBIs in the seventh, doubling in Pendleton to cut Oakland’s lead to 4-3 and driving in Jermaine Dye with a two-out single to make it 9-4. In between, Jeff King hit a run-scoring double and Dean Palmer made it 8-4 with a two-run homer.
“We just let it get away from us,” Oakland Manager Art Howe said. “They got a break with the ball hitting the runner and going into the dugout, and it just snowballed from there.”
The rally gave Tim Belcher (4-6) his third win in his last four starts, even though he gave up nine hits in eight innings, including four doubles.
“I’ve always told my teammates throughout my career that I’ve never lost (with 10-run support),” Belcher said. “So I continued that streak.”
Belcher struck out four, didn’t walk a batter and left after throwing 121 pitches. “He’d thrown a lot of pitches, but we were able to let him go. He’s a horse, there’s no question about it,” Royals Manager Tony Muser said. “Sometimes it’s a good outing, sometimes it’s a bad outing, but he’s a horse all the time.”
NEXT SERIES FOR ANGELS
WHO: Kansas City Royals
WHERE: at Kansas City
WHEN: Tonight, 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 5 p.m.