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Royals roar back, top O's


Kansas City, Mo. -- As if they didn't already know, the Orioles were given a crash course in what bad baseball teams do in the first inning last night when they scored three runs after getting helped by three Kansas City Royals errors.

They spent the rest of the game repaying the Royals for their gen erosity. The Orioles left 13 runners on base, failing to blow open a game that Kansas City had no business being in. The Orioles committed three errors, includ ing one by catcher Ramon Hernandez that led to a game-tying two-run home run. Kris Benson, once considered the most consistent starter on the team, couldn't hold a four-run lead against the worst team in the American League.

It all added up to a 7-5 loss to the Royals before 18,591 at Kauffman Stadium, easily one of their poor est efforts of an Orioles season that is growing more frustrating by the day. Mark Teahen had two home runs and five RBIs and the Royals erased a 5-4 seventh-inning deficit with three runs.

Given a chance to get closer to the .500 mark with six road games against the two worst teams in the American League, the Orioles (45-56), who dropped two of three to Tampa Bay, will now have to take the next two against the Royals (35-64) to finish the road trip with a 3-3 record.

Down 3-0 before their first at- bat, the Royals tied the game in the sixth on Teahen's two-run homer off Benson. Teahen came to bat with a runner on base, only after Hernandez was unable to make a play on Matt Stairs' foul ball. Stairs wound up walking and then scored on Teahen's shot, his second of the game. It was the first multi-home run game of his career.

Teahen had cut the Orioles' lead to 4-2 two innings earlier with a two-run shot to center field. Ben son left after the inning, but was still in a position to win his first game since June 28 when center fielder Luis Terrero broke a 4-4 tie with a bases-empty homer in the seventh off Kansas City starter Mark Redman. It was Terrero's first homer since Sept. 8 last year.

But Benson would watch the Orioles continue to implode. In the bottom of the seventh, Orioles reliever Kurt Birkins walked pinch hitter Esteban German, who wound up going all the way to third on a wild pitch after ap pearing to catch Hernandez by surprise. After hitting Matt Stairs with an errant curveball, Birkins surrendered a game-tying sacrifice fly to Teahen.

Shane Costa broke a 5-5 tie with an RBI double against Birkins and then Angel Berroa's bunt-single off Todd Williams gave Kansas City a 7-5 lead. Several scouts were at Kauffman Stadium, most likely to watch Redman, who is one option in a paper-thin trade market for starting pitchers.

Redman, selected to this year's All-Star Game by American League manager Ozzie Guillen because the Royals had to be represented by someone, was 5-0 in June with a 3.74 ERA. He had lost just once in his previous nine outings and the defeat came last week when he was beaten, 1-0, by the Boston Red Sox despite pitching a complete game.

However, Redman clearly didn't have his best stuff and that was evident from the out set. The first three Orioles he faced all got hits with Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada following Brian Roberts' leadoff double with run-scoring singles.

Right fielder Shane Costa made the first of the Royals' three errors in the first with a bobble in right field that allowed Mora to stretch his single and get into scoring position for Tejada.

Royals left fielder David DeJe sus then dropped Jeff Conine's fly ball in left, followed by Redman botching Ramon Hernandez's come-backer, loading the bases with still no outs. Redman performed some dam age control, getting Kevin Millar to bounce into a double play, though allowing the Orioles' third run to score.

The Orioles took a 4-0 lead on Terrero's RBI double in the third, but they were unable to blow the game open, stranding 10 base runners through the first five innings.

Kansas City cut its deficit to 4-2 in the fourth inning when third baseman Mark Teahen followed Matt Stairs' double by depositing Benson's 2-2 pitch over the cen ter-field wall for his 10th homer.

The homer appeared to unset tle Benson as he walked two straight Royals hitters before getting John Buck to bounce into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

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