Texas Rangers and KC Royals

Monday, May 27th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Texas Rangers had high hopes going into a 12-game road trip. After a bad start, they were back to within one game of .500.

The Kansas City Royals' sweep of a doubleheader on Sunday capped a horrendous 2-9 record for the Rangers on their longest road trip of the season, dropping them to eight games below .500.

Kansas City right-hander Cory Bailey picked up the victory in both games Sunday. He pitched the ninth inning of the Royals' 7-5 victory in the first game, then got two outs in the sixth inning of the 9-8 slugfest in the nightcap to give the Royals a three-game sweep of the Rangers.

``It's very disappointing. But we've just got to go back home and play like we did the last home stand, just get after it,'' said Texas manager Jerry Narron. ``We've got a lot of character here and they're not going to quit. We just didn't get it done this road trip.''

In the first game, Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer and scored on his own RBI single with the help of two Kansas City errors as the Rangers built a 5-4 lead.

Rodriguez connected on a 415-foot shot off rookie Miguel Asencio for a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Then he hit an RBI single in the eighth and kept coming around as rookie catcher Juan Brito and center fielder Beltran each committed throwing errors.

Joe Randa's two-run homer capped a three-run rally off Hideki Irabu in the ninth inning. Carlos Beltran singled with one out off Irabu (1-3), stole second and scored on Sweeney's game-tying single. Randa hit his third homer over the fence in left-center.

Mike Sweeney, Beltran and Mark Quinn all homered in the second game as Kansas City had a season-high 18 hits and recorded its first doubleheader sweep since beating Minnesota twice on July 28, 1997.

Quinn's solo homer in the second inning of the nightcap made it 2-1, then the Royals tied a team record with four stolen bases while scoring three runs in the third to take a 5-1 lead.

Rafael Palmeiro's 10th home run leading off the fourth left him one RBI short of becoming the 34th player in major league history with 1,500. Then Gabe Kapler's sacrifice fly and Rodriguez's RBI single made it 5-4 in the fifth. With one out and the bases loaded, Blake Stein relieved Darrell May and struck out Juan Gonzalez and Carl Everett.

Sweeney hit a solo homer to put the Royals up 6-4 in the fifth inning of the nightcap. Then Donnie Sadler had an RBI single for a 7-4 lead.

In the sixth, the Rangers made it 7-6 on back-to-back consecutive home runs off Stein by Herbert Perry and Todd Greene, who also had an RBI single in the second inning and doubled and scored in the fifth. Perry also had a solo homer in the first game.

When Stein left with a pulled groin a few minutes later with a runner at second, Bailey came in and gave up a game-tying RBI single to Rodriguez. But with two on and two outs, he got Gonzalez to pop out to end the inning.

Then Beltran regained the lead for Kansas City with a two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth off Chris Michalak (0-2).

Roberto Hernandez pitched the ninth in the nightcap for his 301st career save and seventh in as many chances this season, allowing a solo homer to Gonzalez _ his first RBI of the season.

``It was a long day,'' said Royals manager Tony Pena. ``But when you win two, it's a short day.''