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  Saturday, May 6 8:05pm ET
Royals follow Damon's lead to victory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Once again, Johnny Damon did his job.

Damon led off the game with a hit for the ninth straight game -- the longest streak since Major League Baseball began keeping track in 1975 -- and the Royals went on to defeat the Chicago White Sox 11-5 Saturday night.

Damon also hit a pair of two-run homers to finish with a 4-for-5 night, but Royals manager Tony Muser wants Damon to remember his role.

"That's the job of a leadoff hitter," Muser said, referring to the leadoff hits. "When Johnny's doing his job, we just seem to score runs. I'm hoping with two home runs, he doesn't get greedy tomorrow."

Damon, who matched his career high for hits, tied the score at 2 in the third with a homer off Mike Sirotka (2-3). Mike Sweeney singled with two outs and scored the go-ahead run on Jermaine Dye's triple, and Mark Quinn followed with an RBI single.

David McCarty homered leading off the fourth, and Damon homered for a 7-2 lead, chasing Sirotka, who allowed seven runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.

It was Damon's second career multihomer game. The first was at Cincinnati on June 23, 1998.

"I don't consider myself hot yet," Damon said. "It's a nice thing to have the nine-game streak. I don't really care about that. My job is to get on base and score runs. That wins games. Hitting streaks don't and batting average doesn't."

Scott Eyre relieved Sirotka and gave up five consecutive hits, including run-scoring singles by Dye and Quinn, and Joe Randa's RBI triple.

"Kansas City's an exciting team and they've been playing great at home," said Joe Nossek, filling in for Chicago manager Jerry Manuel, who finished his eight-game suspension for his role in the April 22 brawl with Detroit. "We've been playing the last eight games without our leader and we gave it our best shot."

Chad Durbin, staked to a 10-2 lead after four innings, couldn't get out of the fifth.

"We couldn't get Durbin through," Muser said. "He didn't look like he was going to rebound. He had a real tough time with the strike zone."

He gave up Jeff Abbott's RBI double in the second, escaping a bases-loaded jam when Carlos Lee and Greg Norton flied out, then allowed Frank Thomas' run-scoring single in the third.

After RBI singles by Paul Konerko and Chris Singleton in the fifth, Jerry Spradlin (1-1) relieved, allowing a run-scoring, double-play grounder to Lee. He allowed two hits in four shutout innings.

"I didn't want to give them a chance to get any momentum back," Spradlin said. "They're a good enough team that with a walk here and a hit there, it could be three or four runs. You can't let up. You have to be aggressive and bury them."

Every Kansas City starter had at least one hit, helping send the AL Central-leading White Sox to their fifth loss in six games.

"Spradlin did a great job. That's what it takes to win," Nossek said.

Kansas City (15-15) reached .500 for the first time since it was 8-8 on April 19. The Royals, 13-4 at home this season, finished with a season-high 18 hits and 11 runs, including Quinn's eighth-inning homer off Kelly Wunsch.

Game notes
After leading off his ninth straight game with a base hit, Damon was forced at second on a fielder's choice, failing to score in the first inning for just the second time in the nine games. .... The Royals have 57 hits in their last four games and have been in double figures in 10 of their last 11. ... It was just the third game this season the Royals did not give up a home run.


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