The 2002 season was not a good one for the Royals. Tony Muser lasted only 23 games before he was mercifully guillotined and was eventually replaced with Tony Pena. That team sputtered throughout the year and finished with a record of 62-100, the first time in franchise history the team hit triple digits in the loss column.
What does that have to do with April 5, 2003?
Well, on this date 10 years ago, the Royals defeated the Cleveland Indians by a score of 3 to 1 at Kauffman Stadium. It was their fifth win of the season in five games. And it marked the first time in baseball history a team that lost 100 or more games the previous year, opened the season with a five game winning streak.
The star of this game was Runelvys Hernandez who outdueled CC Sabathia. Hernandez allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out three in seven innings of work. The two hits were back to back doubles in the fifth by John McDonald and Milton Bradley which led to the Indians only run.
The Royals scored in the first on a Michael Tucker leadoff double, followed by a Desi Relaford bunt to move him to third. Do you remember the Twitter explosion from that day? A bunt with no one out in the first inning? Who does that? Tucker scored on a Mike Sweeney sac fly. Serious productive outs. Serious.
When Indians tied the score with their doubles, the Royals quickly retook the lead on a Tucker triple and a throwing error on shortstop Omar Vizquel allowed the Royals center fielder to score. They added an insurance run for closer Mike MacDougal in the eighth with a Ken Harvey walk, a Brandon Berger single and an Angel Berroa groundout. Serious productive outs. Serious.
|Michael Tucker CF-RF||4||2||2||0||1||0||.190||.625||22||11||0.136||0.99||0.197||-0.061||0.7||1||0||3B,2B|
|Desi Relaford 3B||3||0||2||0||0||0||.222||.639||8||7||-0.029||1.14||0.061||-0.090||-0.3||0||2||SB,SH,GDP|
|Mike Sweeney DH||2||0||0||1||1||1||.357||1.188||18||7||-0.045||1.31||0.032||-0.077||-0.6||SF,IW|
|Raul Ibanez LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||.421||1.033||15||8||-0.055||0.89||0.011||-0.066||-0.7||1||0||HBP|
|Ken Harvey 1B||3||1||0||0||1||0||.333||.929||15||6||-0.078||0.92||0.016||-0.094||-0.8||11||2|
|Brandon Berger RF||3||0||1||0||1||0||.200||.629||13||8||0.042||0.73||0.076||-0.034||0.7||2||0|
|Rontrez Johnson PR-CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||0.000||0.00||0.000||0.000||0.0||0||0|
|Angel Berroa SS||4||0||0||1||0||1||.211||.513||17||13||-0.088||0.98||0.022||-0.110||-1.3||4||4||GDP|
|Brent Mayne C||4||0||3||0||0||0||.600||1.363||20||12||0.030||0.44||0.041||-0.011||0.5||7||0|
|Carlos Febles 2B||4||0||3||0||0||0||.333||.842||8||8||-0.014||0.86||0.037||-0.050||0.2||0||3||2B|
|Runelvys Hernandez P||1||1|
|Jason Grimsley P||0||1|
|Mike MacDougal P||0||1|
|Runelvys Hernandez, W (2-0)||7||2||1||1||1||3||0||0.69||24||85||50||28||9||13||12||7||2||0||71||0.387||1.04||3.1|
|Jason Grimsley, H (3)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||0.00||3||15||10||6||2||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.130||1.62||0.6|
|Mike MacDougal, S (3)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||0.00||3||14||10||6||1||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.086||1.07||0.6|
It was Hernandez's second best Game Score of '03, just behind his Opening Day mark of 72.
The Royals would push their winning streak to nine games. The magic of 2003.