Kansas City (61-54) at Tampa Bay (45-70)

Mostly Clear Currently: St. Petersburg, FL, US
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 1:15 pm EDT Sun Aug 10, 2003
  • TV: KMCI, WPXM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Runelvys Hernandez looks to pick up another much-needed win for the Kansas City Royals as they complete a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.

Hernandez, who has gone 2-1 in five starts since returning from a two-month stint on the disabled list due to inflammation in his right elbow, picked up a huge win in Chicago on Monday.

Despite yielding six runs and eight hits over five shaky innings, Hernandez gave the Royals their only win in a crucial three-game series with the White Sox. The second-year right-hander walked four and struck out one, but benefited from Kansas City’s seven-run seventh-inning.

The Royals have won four of Hernandez’s last five starts.

On Saturday, Kansas City jumped a half-game in front of second-place Chicago in the AL Central, beating the Devil Rays 6-2 while the White Sox lost to Oakland. The Royals had dropped out of first place for the first time since July 1.

Rookie Jimmy Gobble tossed 6 1-3 solid innings and Carlos Beltran homered and drove in three runs as the Royals snapped a four-game losing streak.

The Devil Rays, who had won eight of 11, have split six games with the first-place Royals this season.

STANDINGS: Royals - 1st place, AL Central. Devil Rays - 5th place, 25 GB, AL East.

ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Hernandez (6-4, 3.87 ERA). Hernandez tossed five scoreless innings in his only previous outing against the Royals. He is 5-3 with a 4.54 ERA in 12 road starts this season.

DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Jorge Sosa (4-8, 4.54 ERA). Sosa has won three of his last five decisions, but did not receive one in Tampa Bay’s 5-4 win over Toronto on Tuesday. The right-hander allowed only one run and six hits over seven solid innings, while striking out six and walking two. Sosa is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against the Devil Rays.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Royals - Raul Ibanez, .296 avg. and 69 RBIs; Beltran, 18 HRs, 70 runs and 30 SBs. Devil Rays - Aubrey Huff, .301 avg., 19 HRs and 60 RBIs; Rocco Baldelli, 63 runs; Carl Crawford, 34 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 3-3.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Royals - OF Beltran hit his 100th career homer Saturday. … 1B Ken Harvey left Saturday’s game in the second inning after straining his left pectoral muscle while swinging a bat. He is day-to-day. … 3B Joe Randa is 2-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs against RHP Sosa. Devil Rays - Sosa is 2-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 14 appearances, including six starts, at Tropicana Field this season. … OF Crawford was scratched from the lineup Saturday after mildly spraining his right ankle while running after a fly ball in batting practice. X-rays were negative and Crawford is day-to-day. … Lou Piniella managed his 2,569th game Friday, tying him for 23rd place on the career list with former Yankees manager Miller Huggins.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Royals - 30-27 on the road; Devil Rays - 26-33 at home.

INJURIES: Royals - 1B Harvey (pectoral muscle), day-to-day; INF Mendy Lopez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Michael Tucker (leg), 15-day DL; RHP Jose Lima (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Kyle Snyder (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Miguel Asencio (elbow), 60-day DL. Devil Rays - OF Crawford (ankle), day-to-day; SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; INF Terry Shumpert (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Ben Grieve (blood clot), 60-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Hernandez HOU vs. J. Sosa MIA
7-5 Record 5-12
4.61 ERA 4.62
48 K 72
37 BB 60
1.35 WHIP 1.53