KANSAS CITY: Mike Sweeney finished one home run short of the Blue Jays franchise record of seven homers by an opponent in a season. It has been done six times, twice by Cecil Fielder. ... Sweeney is batting .414 (29-for-70) in his last two seasons against Toronto. ... The Royals have won a season-high three straight. ... Jeff Suppan has not allowed more than three earned runs in four of his six starts.
TORONTO: The Blue Jays recalled RHP Bob File from Triple-A Syracuse of the International League and optioned RHP Pasqual Coco to Syracuse. ... The Blue Jays finished April with a 3.61 ERA. Last April was 6.42, the worst month in franchise history. ... Eleven of Tony Batista's 19 hits have gone for extra bases.
TAMPA BAY: Manager Hal McRae, who took the job April 18, said it will take at least six weeks to fully evaluate the team. "It's a minimum of six weeks, but that could mean six months. I don't think you know until it happens. You can't put a date on it.". ... McRae said the team is trying to ignore all the rumors regarding the franchise's financial situation, because "we're not doing our job, we're not winning baseball games." ... McRae said he would like another pitcher because the Devil Rays are in a high-scoring league and the team would have more flexibility. ... McRae and his coaching staff (Wade Boggs, Lee May, Billy Hatcher and Darren Daulton) combined for 9,169 major-league hits.
BALTIMORE: Brady Anderson opened Monday's game with his 44th leadoff homer, second on the career list behind Rickey Henderson (78). ... Jeff Conine missed a second straight start because of a sore hand, but was available to play. ... Manager Mike Hargrove picked Chuck McElroy to start Thursday against the Yankees instead of rookie Josh Towers, who was called up from the minors Saturday and has yet to pitch in the majors. ... Cal Ripken was back on the bench Monday, his six-game hitting streak over after an 0-for-4 performance in Minnesota on Sunday.
NEW YORK: Chuck Knoblauch, who was with the Minnesota Twins from 1991-97, played left field at the Metrodome for the first time Monday night. The baseball-colored ceiling and angling of the lights toward left makes it tough to see fly balls. "It's a good test for anybody," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It's tough to take your eye off the ball here." ... Knoblauch, hitting .342 entering play Monday, hasn't finished over .300 for a season since 1996. He batted over .300 for Minnesota from 1994-96. ... New York, 26-28 against the AL Central division last year, hasn't lost in six games against Central foes. All those games were against Kansas City. ... Andy Pettitte, Monday's starter, hasn't lost to the Twins since 1998. ... The Yankees swept three three-game series in April for the first time since 1987.
MINNESOTA: Brad Radke, the Twins starter Monday night, is 2-8 lifetime against the Yankees. If he beats New York, Radke will be the first five-game winner in the majors. ... The Twins, who had the worst record in the AL last year, were 5-5 against the World Champion Yankees last season. ... 1B Doug Mientkiewicz entered Monday's game with a 12-game hitting streak and the AL's highest home batting average (.452). ... The Twins haven't had a winning record against the Yankees since 1992. ... In his first five starts, Radke's ERA was 12.60 in the first inning and 1.05 after that. The Yankees have outscored their opponents 22-6 in the first. ... Minnesota (17-6) has recorded 17 quality starts this year. The Twins are 15-2 in those games.
HOUSTON: Octavio Dotel and Jose Lima, who pitched in relief Sunday for Houston, will start the final two games of the series. Dotel was scratched from his start Sunday against Florida because of tightness in the upper part of his left leg. He pitched one inning of relief. After pitching 1 2-3 innings Friday - the shortest start of his career - Lima pitched 2 2-3 innings in relief and will take his regular turn in the rotation Wednesday. ... OF Richard Hidalgo was scratched just before gametime with a slight right groin pull. He is day to day. Glen Barker started in Hidalgo's place. ... 1B Jeff Bagwell became the fifth player in franchise history to play 1,500 games with the Astros. 2B Craig Biggio is second on the list with 1,824 games, 46 behind leader Jose Cruz.
NEW YORK: The Mets hope a return home will help shake them out of the doldrums from a 3-6 road trip. The trip ended with two blowout losses in three days at St. Louis. "It was a tough trip for us," said catcher Mike Piazza, who was ejected in the finale Sunday against the Cardinals. "We have to move on." ... 3B Robin Ventura returned to the lineup after missing the past six games with tightness in his right hamstring. ... The Mets recalled RHP Dicky Gonzalez from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned RHP Jerrod Riggan back to Norfolk. Gonzalez will start Tuesday night. ... LHP Al Leiter, out with a sore left elbow, is expected to start throwing again within a few days.
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