Around the horn: Aug. 20


? Royals win! Royals win!

The Royals ended baseball’s longest losing streak in 17 years Saturday, beating the A’s, 2-1, to snap a 19-game skid. Mike Wood pitched five effective innings, and four relievers combined to hurl four shutout innings.

Barry Zito pitched OK, allowing two runs over seven frames. Both runs came in the fourth. The loss cut the A’s Wild Card lead to one-half game over the Yankees and 1 1/2 over the Indians.

? Beware of the Tribe. After going eight shutout innings in his last outing, Cliff Lee gave up just one run over seven frames in the Indians’ 6-1 win over the stumbling and bumbling Orioles. Lee is 5-1 with a 4.81 ERA in his last 10 starts. Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez each hit two-run homers to fuel the Tribe offense.

? Pair of wild games on Saturday night. After squandering an early 8-0 lead, the Mets beat the Nationals, 9-8, on pinch-hitter Chris Woodward’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th. And Magglio Ordonez doubled in the winning run with one out in the bottom of the 13th, leading the Tigers past the Blue Jays, 3-2.


? I still don’t understand while Willie Randolph pulled Pedro Martinez after six innings and 78 pitches. The Mets bullpen is a joke. The line says it all.

The Mets need to address the bullpen situation in the offseason. It’s the reason why the club is last in the NL East.

? For the first time in 25 years, two extra-inning grand slams were hit on the same day. Richie Sexson’s 10th-inning granny lifted Seattle past the Twins while Xavier Nady’s 13th-inning salami propelled the Padres over the Braves. Tony Armas Sr. (A’s) and Mike Jorgensen (Mets) last accomplished the feat on June 11, 1980.

? Mariners phenom Felix Hernandez recovered nicely from a somewhat rocky first inning, retiring 17 of the last 18 batters he faced. Hernandez held the Twins to two runs through eight. He struck out nine and walked one in a no decision.

? The Phillies are back on top in the NL Wild Card race after beating the Pirates, 6-1. Brett Myers pitched his second complete game this season.

Before Saturday’s loss to the Angels, manager Terry Francona announced that Curt Schilling will reclaim his spot atop the Red Sox rotation on Thursday at Kansas City.

Good move by the Sox, who lead the Yanks by just three games in the AL East. Mike Timlin, who has 119 saves, will inherit the closer role.

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