Royals get best of Garcia, Phillies
Kansas City hits two home runs in six-run second inning
KANSAS CITY -- OK, the Royals caught a break. Freddy Garcia came down with a sore shoulder. Hey, that's rare enough for the Royals. They'll take it.
The Royals pummeled Garcia for six runs in the second inning Friday night and skipped to an 8-4 Interleague victory over the Phillies at Kauffman Stadium.
There were a lot more than 19,121 fans in the stands when the clubs last met in Kansas City, in the 1980 World Series. This result, though, mirrored history, because the Royals won two of three Series games here.
(Who won that World Series? Oh, never mind.)
Garcia (1-5) has been having a rough year. It got worse when he was tattooed for five hits in the second, including two-run homers by Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Sweeney.
"Freddy's a warrior," Sweeney said. "He's not going to make excuses."
Sweeney, who singled in the first inning and then lined a shot into the left-field bullpen, had excellent success even against a healthy Garcia. In his career, Sweeney has hit .440 (22-for-50) against the right-hander with four homers and 14 RBIs.
His seventh homer finished off the big inning. Grudzielanek's poke, which followed David DeJesus' RBI double, banged high off the left-field foul pole.
"It changes the whole atmosphere," winning pitcher Scott Elarton said. "I put us in a hole early, and we came back with a big inning and changed the momentum of the whole game."
Negated was the Phillies' little barrage against Elarton -- Ryan Howard's two-run smash in the first inning and Greg Dobbs' solo job in the second. Howard's bolt, No. 11 this season, soared 428 feet into the right-field waterfall.
Elarton, in his sixth start since shoulder surgery, saw improvement in his offspeed pitches, notably his changeup, and in his control. The victory was his second, but his ERA stayed virtually in place at 7.34.
"I still made three critical mistakes -- two fastballs and a curveball," he said.
Oh, yes, let's not forget Rod Barajas' home run in the fifth that tightened the score to 6-4.
However, Elarton struck out the Phillies' .303 hitter, Chase Utley, three times. Utley fanned a fourth time, too, against Jimmy Gobble.
Garcia will return to Philadelphia on Sunday night and be examined on Monday.
"When I took him out of the game, I walked him downstairs and started talking to him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I told him if he's hurt, I don't want him pitching."
Garcia finally admitted his shoulder was sore.
"I don't want to pitch the way I've been pitching if it's not 100 percent," he said.
After Garcia's departure, the Royals didn't score again until the seventh, when they mustered two runs against relievers Francisco Rosario and Mike Zagurski. Tony Pena's double and Joey Gathright's single drove in the runs.
"We could have done more damage than we did," Royals manager Buddy Bell said.
Indeed, the Royals summoned up a season-high 16 hits and left 10 runners on base.
The victory ended a string of seven straight losses at Kauffman Stadium, giving the Royals a 10-21 home record -- still the worst in the Majors.
With Elarton out of the game, the Kansas City bullpen patched together four scoreless innings. Joel Peralta, David Riske, Jimmy Gobble, Joakim Soria and Octavio Dotel all took part.
"Gobble came up huge," Sweeney said, referring to the strikeout of Utley with runners at second and third.
Dotel marked his third save without the nail-biting drama of his previous two. Relieving Soria with two on and one out in the ninth, Dotel promptly got Jimmy Rollins to wrap into a double play.
There was no fooling around in this one.
"I feel like I'm getting more in the game and more where I want to be," Dotel said. "Also, I was really wanting to get into a situation like that. I wanted to see how I would handle it."
Very well, it turned out, as Grudzielanek played Rollins' grounder nicely and threw to Pena. The shortstop levitated over second base and fired just in time to nip Rollins and end the game.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.