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Twins Rally To Sweep Royals


LaTroy Hawkins insists he doesn't feel any different when he takes the mound these days.

He has to like the change in his stat sheet when he leaves it though.

Hawkins (8-8) won his fifth straight decision Sunday, scattering six singles over six innings as the Minnesota Twins rallied to a 7-3 win and their first road sweep of the Kansas City Royals in more than 11 years.

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  • "I feel no different when I go out there," said Hawkins, who is 7-1 with four no-decisions since losing 11-3 to Seattle on May 26. "Even when I was struggling, I was out there giving 100 percent."

    The difference, Hawkins said, is how he handles falling behind a batter.

    "Before, if I got to 2-0, 3-0, I wasn't able to come back and get those guys," said Hawkins, who struck out two and walked one. "Now if I do that, I can usually come back, maybe get it to 3-2."

    "That's the whole thing working out of jams and giving my team a chance to win. They're swinging the bat great."

    Minnesota, no-hit for 4 2-3 innings by Royals starter Blake Stein, took a 5-2 lead in the seventh with five runs off Stein and reliever Brad Rigby (3-6).

    "We've been doing this the whole series," said Chad Allen, whose two-run homer ignited the rally. "This is a team that doesn't give up, no matter what."

    Allen's homer tied the score at 2 and chased Stein. Rigby, who took his second loss in as many days, lasted just two-thirds of an inning. He gave up five singles including RBI hits by Todd Walker and Matt Lawton and Brent Gates' sacrifice fly.

    Sunday's loss was the third straight defeat for the Kansas City bullpen. Minnesota, which completed its first sweep at Kansas City since May 1988, trailed after six innings in each of the three games in the series.

    "Stein pitched a heck of a game today. We were still in the game, 2-2, but we went to the bullpen and before you can blink your eyes, we're behind," Royals manager Tony Muser said.

    "The offense has done big things," said Muser, whose team ranks second in the American League with 635 runs. "But if you're asking them to score 10 runs a game, that isn't going to happen."

    Hector Carrasco pitched the final 1 1-3 innings for his first save since June 21, 1998.

    The Royals' Mike Sweeney went 2-for-4, extending his career-long hitting streak to 20 games. The streak is currently the longest in the majors.

    Stein, in his first start and second appearance for the Royals since being traded from Oakland on July 31, gave up five walks four to leadoff hitters in six-plus innings.

    Rey Sanchez's two-run, two-out single off Hawkins put the Royals up 2-0 in the sixth. The hit came after Lawton misplayed Ray Holbert's single to right, allowing Jeremy Giambi to reach third base and Holbert to go to second.

    But the Twins bounced back in the seventh. Allen added a single and a run in the eighth, scoring when Holbert threw the ball away after making a force play at second.

    Jermaine Dye had an RBI triple in the eighth for Kansas City and Lawton hit his sixth homer of the season in the ninth.

    Notes

  • Sweeney's streak is the fifth-longest in club history. He needs two more games to tie Brian McRae for fourth. The record is 30, set by George Brett in 1980.
  • Dye padded his league lead with his 13th outfield assist in the sixth inning. He snagged Ron Coomer's sinking line drive, then threw to second base to double off Todd Walker.
  • The Twins are 5-1 against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, but 0-4 at home.
  • Kansas City is 20 games under .500 (45-65) for the first time this season.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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