Royals fans are used to games turning around in the ninth inning, just not in Kansas City's favor.
For the third straight game, Kansas City won with a home run in its final at-bat, this time getting a three-run, ninth-inning drive from Rey Sanchez that beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-6 Wednesday night.
''I was going for a double,'' said Sanchez, who has 12 home runs in his eight-year career. ''We got lucky.''
On Monday, Johnny Damon hit a ninth-inning home run for a 6-5 win over Minnesota. In the series opener Tuesday, Brian Johnson's 12th-inning homer produced a 7-5 win for the Royals, who at 7-3 are off to their best start since 1978.
''They saw me do it and they figured, 'If Johnny can do it, we all can,''' Damon said.
The Royals blew a whopping 30 save chances last year, when their relievers had a 5.77 ERA. Now, though, the late breaks are all going Kansas City's way.
In other games, New York beat Texas 8-6, Seattle beat Detroit 4-0, Cleveland beat Oakland 5-0, Boston beat Minnesota 7-3, Chicago beat Tampa Bay 7-1 and Toronto beat Anaheim 6-2.
Baltimore, which led 6-0 in the seventh, was still ahead 6-4 when Mike Trombley (0-1) walked Gregg Zaun leading off the bottom of the ninth, and Mark Quinn followed with a double. Sanchez then connected for the winning homer, making a winner of Jose Santiago (2-0), who pitched two perfect innings.
In the National League, it's amazing how things have changed since Mike Hampton left the Astrodome.
Houston has become a hitters' haven, now that the Astros have moved into Enron Field.
There were five more home runs at the new park Wednesday night. Richard Hidalgo, Moises Alou and Tim Bogar connected for Houston in a 7-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
''The fans want offense. Get used to it, because it's here to stay,'' Astros pitcher Shane Reynolds said.
Hampton, meanwhile, is struggling since being traded from Houston to the New York Mets. Runnerup for the NL Cy Young Award last year after going 22-4, he dropped to 0-3 after losing at Philadelphia 8-5.
''This is about as low as I can get,'' said Hampton, who exited early because of a bruised right knee. ''A lot of things are expected out of me, and I'm letting them down.''
''Should this team be 3-6? No,'' he said. ''We basically stink right now, and I'm part of it -- a big part of it.''
In other NL games, San Diego stopped Arizona 4-2, Colorado beat Cincinnati 7-5, Chicago defeated Atlanta 11-4, Florida downed Milwaukee 11-4 and Pittsburgh beat Montreal 6-4.
Also, the Los Angeles-San Francisco game was suspended because of rain in the sixth inning with the Dodgers ahead 3-2. It will be completed tonight from the point it was stopped.
The Astrodome always was known as a pitcher's paradise, but Enron Field appears completely different. During this six-game homestand at the park, Houston and its opponents combined for 24 home runs.
Hidalgo homered, doubled twice and drove in three runs. He hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh inning as the Astros ended a three-game losing streak and stopped St. Louis' four-game winning string.
Jim Edmonds, leading the majors in hitting at .536 (15-for-28), homered and doubled for the Cardinals.
Edmonds had nine consecutive hits -- and had reached base in 12 straight plate appearances, tying Chick Hafey's 1929 team record -- before striking out looking against Yorkis Perez.
''I'm seeing the ball well and I'm putting it in play,'' Edmonds said. ''It's just one of those things in baseball. Baseball is a game of streaks, and I was in the middle of one. It's nice, it's special but I don't want to bring too much attention to myself.''
Phillies 8, Mets 5
Mike Lieberthal hit a three-run double and Scott Rolen and Bobby Abreu homered as Philadelphia sent New York to its third straight loss.
Hampton was hit in the knee by Doug Glanville's line drive in the third inning and did not come out to pitch the fourth. The lefty gave up six runs and left with a 6.56 ERA.
Hampton tied a career high with his third straight loss. He lost the first four starts of his career, but won in relief during that span.
Dodgers 3, Giants 2, suspended, 5 1/2 innings
The Giants escaped the wind and fog at Candlestick Park, but could not hide from the rain at Pacific Bell Park.
The first night game at the new stadium was stopped shortly after Los Angeles took the lead on Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth.
Because San Francisco did not get its chance to bat in the inning in which the go-ahead run scored, the game was suspended rather than called as official.
Rockies 7, Reds 5
Masato Yoshii enjoyed his first game on the mound at Coors Field. He liked hitting at the park, too.
Traded from the Mets to Colorado in the offseason, Yoshii pitched six solid innings and also contributed a two-run single.
Ken Griffey Jr., who had homered in his three previous games, singled twice for Cincinnati. He drove in a run for the eighth straight game.
There were no home runs in the game -- only the 18th time that's happened in the six-year history of Coors Field.
Padres 4, Diamondbacks 2
Ed Sprague blooped a pinch-hit, two-run single in the seventh inning that led San Diego over visiting Arizona.
A day earlier, Sprague hit a tying home run in the ninth inning and another homer in the 13th to beat the Diamondbacks. An All-Star third baseman last year with Pittsburgh, he signed a minor league contract with the Padres to be a backup.
Cubs 11, Braves 4
Shane Andrews hit two home runs and Chicago overcame Chipper Jones' two homers to beat Atlanta at Wrigley Field.
Andrews had a three-run homer and a solo shot as the Cubs won consecutive games for the first time this season. Glenallen Hill had a three-run shot and Ricky Gutierrez also connected for Chicago.
Jones added an RBI single as he drove in all of the Braves' runs.
Pirates 6, Expos 4
John Vander Wal connected for his second home run in three pinch-hit at-bats this season, a three-run shot that lifted Pittsburgh over Montreal at Three Rivers Stadium.
Vander Wal, acquired from San Diego for Al Martin to improve the Pirates' bench, is sixth on baseball's career pinch-hit homer list with 15. His 110 career pinch-hits rank ninth.
The Pirates had lost three in a row and the Expos had won three straight.
Marlins 11, Brewers 4
On a bitter night at County Stadium, Florida manager John Boles found a way to combat the cold. He wore an ear-warmer, a large jacket, a windbreaker, a turtleneck, a batting practice jersey, another windbreaker, a jersey, a second turtleneck, an undershirt and batting practice gloves.
It was 41 degrees at gametime, and winds whipping off Lake Michigan dropped temperatures much lower. Derrek Lee homered for the Marlins and blew on his hands as he rounded the bases.
There were about 2,000 fans in the park. The crowd gave a big cheer when Milwaukee reliever Jim Bruske (pronounced Brew-skee) was introduced for his home debut.
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