Dodgers 5, Royals 2

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Although Kevin Brown wasn’t close to his best Thursday night, he still found a way to win.

Brown pitched seven strong innings to win his seventh straight decision, and Cesar Izturis singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2.

Brown (8-1) allowed five hits and two runs before being lifted for a pinch-hitter immediately after Izturis’ two-out single drove in Adrian Beltre to snap a 2-2 tie.

Fred McGriff hit a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Rick DeHart to give the Dodgers some breathing room. It was McGriff’s 10th homer of the season and the 488th of his career.

“It wasn’t an easy night, I wouldn’t say I did my most tremendous work out there,” said Brown, whose 2.06 ERA ranks second in the NL behind St. Louis’ Woody Williams.

“I made a lot of pitches and a lot of them weren’t that good,” Brown said. “Location and movement weren’t as good as they’ve been. The nice thing is you have a game where you’re not that sharp and good things happen. Things like that have to happen for you to have a time like this.”

Brown, who walked one and struck out five, has seven wins and two no-decisions in his last nine starts. He has given up 10 runs in 65 innings during that time while walking 10 and striking out 59.

“Once again, Brownie gave us a great pitching performance,” said Dave Roberts, who doubled twice and scored two runs. “He gives us a chance to win every night.”

Paul Shuey and Tom Martin combined to blank the Royals in the eighth. Eric Gagne worked a perfect ninth, striking out two, for his 20th save and 28th straight dating back to last season.

The win was just the third in nine games for the Dodgers, who moved within three games of first-place San Francisco in the NL West.

The Royals lost for the 16th time in 21 games and trail AL Central-leading Minnesota by 4 1/2 games.

Beltre doubled with two outs in the seventh before Izturis lined a 2-0 pitch from Darrell May (0-2) to left to break the tie.

With Brown in the on-deck circle, Izturis thought the Royals were pitching around him after the first two pitches were balls.

“Yeah, definitely,” Izturis said. “But the pitch was right there—middle in. I was ready for it. I got a good hack.”

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Shawn Green’s RBI single. May committed two errors on Roberts’ leadoff bunt, juggling the ball and then throwing it away, enabling Roberts to reach third. Green got his hit one out later.

The Royals scored their runs in the sixth on an RBI double by Mike Sweeney and a two-out wild pitch by Brown that enabled Sweeney to score from third.

May had retired 14 of 15 batters before Roberts opened the bottom of the sixth with his second double. Paul Lo Duca sacrificed and Green followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-2.

May allowed six hits and four runs in 7 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out one.

“If he continues to pitch like that, he’ll find a way to win,” Royals manager Tony Pena said.

Sweeney came out of the game in the eighth after being hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Shuey. X-rays were negative, and he is day-to-day.

“I’m all right,” Sweeney said. “I couldn’t feel it at first. I got hit by a 96 mile-per-hour fastball. Hopefully I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

Sweeney said he told Pena he wanted to stay in the game, but Pena decided otherwise.

Regarding Brown, Sweeney said: “He’s one of the best in the game. That’s why he’s 8-1. He can throw a 96 mile-per-hour sinker with movement. He’s got a great slider and a great split.”

Brown retired 12 straight batters starting with one out in the first.


Williams lowered his league-best ERA to 1.99 earlier Thursday by pitching eight scoreless innings against Toronto. … Lo Duca tripled in the eighth to extend his career-high hitting streak to 14 games. He has 27 hits in 56 at-bats during the streak. The triple was just the second of his career. … May had no-decisions in each of his eight previous starts. … Dodgers C Todd Hundley underwent back surgery Thursday and is expected to be sidelined at least eight weeks. “Everything went fine,” manager Jim Tracy said. “I heard of no complications.” … Dodgers RHP Darren Dreifort was fitted with a brace for his sore right knee, but experienced pain, so plans for him to throw before the game were scrapped. Dreifort will be examined by Dr. Ralph Gambardella onFriday.

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