Dodgers edged in Kansas City

Dodgers edged in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY -- As a former member of a struggling Detroit ballclub, Jeff Weaver has seen a lot of games unfold just like the one at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night.

Weaver pitches well, but Weaver loses. A starting pitcher isn't going to come out victorious many times when his offense provides only two runs of support. Both starting pitchers allowed two homers during the Dodgers' first game in Kansas City. The only difference was that one of the Royals' homers came with a man on base and it enabled Kansas City to squeeze out a 3-2 victory.

"He pitched a good ballgame," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said of Weaver. "He went seven innings, gave up three runs. More times than not, if your starting pitcher goes out there and pitches as well as he did tonight, your chances to win the game are fairly genuine."

Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez looked like he might be in for a tough night when white-hot Hee-Seop Choi, the second batter of the game, lined a homer just inside the right-field foul pole. Choi now has seven homers over a four-game span and became the first player to accomplish that feat since Shawn Green did it May 21-24, 2002.

But Hernandez settled down thereafter as the Dodgers failed to get the big hit. Los Angeles scored only once the rest of the evening, on a third-inning homer by J.D. Drew.

The Dodgers, who missed some early opportunities to make life easier for Weaver, wound up 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Consequently, Weaver had to be great. Instead, he settled for being very good and that simply wasn't enough.

The Royals opened the first by making an Interleague statement that they are no longer playing like doormats under the watch of new manager Buddy Bell. Angel Berroa started the first with a single and David DeJesus homered to right-center.

"That first inning kind of set the tone," Weaver said. "They weren't going to just roll over and let us beat them. They are out there to battle, too."

The Dodgers may be catching the Royals at the wrong time. Kansas City is 9-4 since Bell took over and just finished going on the road and taking two of three from both San Francisco and Arizona.

After Drew tied it at 2, Royals rookie Shane Costa became the definitive hero by hitting his first Major League homer in the fifth. It proved to be a game-winner.

Hot streak for Choi
Dodgers at Royals, June 14
Hot-hitting Hee-Seop Choi has seven hits in his last four games and all of them have left the park:
Choi's 13th home run increases his season RBI total to 29 and career total to 107, through June 14. He now has 38 homers in his career. The record for most home runs in four games with at least one homer in each is eight, set by Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner in September 1947.

Dodgers right fielder Jason Werth thought he had a chance to bring Costa's high drive back into the park, but Werth couldn't get up quite high enough to make a highlight reel catch.

"I climbed the wall," Werth said. "I timed it right, but I just couldn't climb the wall high enough."

The Dodgers had an opportunity in the ninth when Jason Phillips led off with a single against Kansas City closer Mike MacDougal. Antonio Perez failed to put down a sacrifice bunt and fanned. Cesar Izturis bunted for a hit and MacDougal made a poised play to throw him out, but the tying run advanced to second with Choi at the plate.

When MacDougal got Choi on a bouncer to shortstop, it was the end of a frustrating day for the Dodgers. First, they learned that in all likelihood they've lost Eric Gagne because of an elbow injury. Then they lost a game that could have gone their way with another clutch hit or two.

The silver lining for Los Angeles was that Weaver continued his turnaround after some early-season problems.

"I just have to continue to stay where I'm at," Weaver said. "Once our offense gets going again, I think all of us will benefit from it. I just concentrate on what I have to do. As long as you can go home, look yourself in the mirror and know you put your best effort out there, that's all we can do as pitchers."

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.