Royals 2, Dodgers 1


Thursday, June 5th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Rookie Kyle Snyder and his teammates made certain that Kansas City manager Tony Pena had a happy 46th birthday.

It was a pretty special day for Snyder, too.

Snyder and two relievers combined on a three-hitter, and Carlos Beltran and Angel Berroa homered as the Royals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 Wednesday night.

"I asked my boys: `This is the only thing I want -- give me a win today.' And they did," Pena said.

Snyder (1-3) earned his first victory in the majors, allowing three hits and one run in six innings while walking none and striking out four. He left because of stiffness in his back.

"I wouldn't have taken him out if it wasn't for the back, it was just a precaution," Pena said.

"My back was just a little bit stiff, it wasn't that bad at all," said Snyder, who threw 78 pitches. "I've worked my whole life for this. LA, Dodger Stadium, it's a pretty special moment, that's for sure. To get the first one out of the way feels incredible."

The win was just the fifth in 20 games for the Royals, who evened their record at 28-28 one day after dropping below .500 for the first time this season. They trail AL Central-leading Minnesota by 31/2 games.

Jason Grimsley pitched two perfect innings with four strikeouts, and rookie Mike MacDougal pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save in 17 chances.

The Dodgers had only three runners; Paul Lo Duca had an infield hit in the fourth and a two-out RBI double in the sixth following an infield hit by Dave Roberts.

Snyder retired the first 10 batters, and combined with Grimsley and MacDougal to retire the last 10.

Beltran hit his 10th homer with one out in the second off Hideo Nomo (6-6), and Berroa opened the fifth with his second homer in as many games.

"To get a win against Nomo, who is awfully tough, was great," Beltran said. "He has the great split and fastball, we just had to sit back, make him leave a split up in the zone and then make contact.

"We have been trying too hard, and things haven't been going good. Today we just went out and let it happen, and we won the game."

Nomo allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings while striking out a season-high nine.

"I don't know that, in the game, there could be a guy that is a better pitcher with a 6-6 record," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said of Nomo, who has a 2.84 ERA. "Somebody would have to go way back into the archives and find me a guy who has pitched any better than this guy has -- and had a 6-6 record to show for it."

The Dodgers have scored a total of eight runs in Nomo's six losses.

"We got beat on two solo home runs and we got three hits -- two of the infield variety," Tracy said. "Everyone is trying to do what's necessary to get ourselves out of this offensively."

The Dodgers are hitting just .250 as a team and have scored 209 runs -- second-lowest total in the majors. The Detroit Tigers are last, having scored 175 runs. No other big-league team has scored fewer than 228 runs.

"We haven't been good offensively up to this point, but there is still two-thirds of the season left to be played," Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green said.

The Dodgers lost for the sixth time in eight games following their season-high 10-game winning streak. They dropped four games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West.

Notes: Lo Duca extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. He has 26 hits in 53 at-bats during the streak to raise his average to .333.

Kansas City's Mike Sweeney had two singles, a day after going hitless in four at-bats. He had reached base safely in 33 straight games and has now reached in 47 of 50 games this season.

The Dodgers placed RHP Darren Dreifort on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 29 because of a sprained ligament in his right knee and recalled LHP Victor Alvarez from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Kansas City's Brent Mayne stopped an 0-for-19 slide by hitting a double in the fifth.