Royals 13, Rangers 8

Monday, September 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- When Mark Quinn hit his second double and pulled up lame, Kansas City Royals fans must have wondered if their rookie-of-the-year jinx was taking hold early.

The Royals left fielder is a prime candidate to win the American League's finest first-year player award. He would join teammate Carlos Beltran, who won it last season.

But Quinn came out of the game in the sixth inning of Kansas City's 13-8 victory over Texas on Sunday with a cramp in his right hamstring and a scowl on his face.

"It just knotted up and I didn't want to take a chance on it,"

Quinn said. "I don't know what it will do on a three-hour plane ride tonight (to Seattle)."

Since spending 10 days in Triple-A Omaha in June and then getting a chance to play every day, Quinn has been one of the best hitters in the league. With two doubles and two RBIs Sunday, he raised his average to .294 and his RBI total to 70.

"Sure, it would be great," he said of winning the rookie award. "But that's an award they give out at the end of the season and I'm not thinking much about it til then."

Winning rookie of the year has not exactly been a blessing for Kansas City players. Bob Hamelin won it in 1994, but never had another good season. Beltran, who won it last season, spent two months on the disabled list this year with a bruised knee and is batting just .246 with six home runs and 34 RBIs.

Nevertheless, the Royals are crossing their fingers for Quinn.

"I think he has got the numbers to do it, but we'll just have to see how the vote comes out," manager Tony Muser said. "He's done a good job for us. He throws well, has good accuracy in his arm, and he could always swing the bat."

Joe Randa drove in five runs with a two-run single and three-run homer as the Royals kept the Rangers from their first three-game sweep in Kauffman Stadium.

"We had a good day after three rough days in a row," Muser said. "We played hard and good things happened. Good things happen to good people."

Randa appeared to break out of a two-week slump while nudging his average back to .300 and boosting his RBI total to a career-best 94.

"I wouldn't say I was physically tired," he said. "It was more mental. I went into a stretch about two weeks ago where I felt I had some good at-bats but didn't have a lot to show for it. As a hitter, when you don't get the hits you lose confidence."

Randa's three-run homer in the seventh put the Royals ahead 11-3.

Jeff Suppan (8-9) gave up three runs, nine hits and four walks in 6 2-3 innings.

Darren Oliver (2-7) lost his career-high fourth straight decision. He gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- and nine hits in five innings. Oliver, winless in seven starts since beating Detroit on May 31, has allowed 34 earned runs in 31 innings, a 9.87 ERA.

"He threw the ball fine," Texas manager Johnny Oates said.

"Sometimes you hit the ball at people and sometimes you don't.

Like my stocks, they're up and down. He's 29 years old. You think he's going to turn into a Greg Maddux control type pitcher all of a sudden? I don't think so."

Texas' Frank Catalanotto hit a grand slam off Andy Larkin in a five-run ninth that also included Scarborough Green's RBI single.

It was Catalanotto's first career slam.

Notes: Every Royals starter scored at least once. ... Randa also had five RBIs last July 25 against Oakland. ... Before winning the first two games, the Rangers were 0-9-3 in their 12 previous series. ... Kansas City OF Johnny Damon, who was 7-for-10 the first two games, went hitless in three at-bats Sunday, but scored his league-leading 122nd run.