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Injury added to insult

Guillen injures knee; Royals finish sweep of Rays with 4-2 win.

By JOHN ROMANO

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 18, 2001


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Defying all odds, the Rays season grows more wretched with every passing day.

The Rays were beaten 4-2 Thursday night, completing a three-game sweep by the last-place Royals, and that was not the day's worst news.

Rightfielder Jose Guillen had to be taken off the field on a stretcher in the seventh inning after injuring his left knee in a violent fall at first base while trying to beat out a ground ball.

Guillen was examined by Royals team physician Steve Joyce and is scheduled to have an MRI exam in St. Petersburg today.

Guillen was hustling down the line on a slow grounder and stretched toward the bag to beat the throw. He landed on the bag with his left foot, which slid across the wet base. When his foot slid off the base, his cleats appeared to stick in the clay and his momentum carried him forward with his left leg caught awkwardly in the dirt. Guillen spun and landed hard on his back.

First base coach Lee May immediately began waving for assistance as Rays trainers raced from the dugout.

Just 48 hours earlier, Rays second baseman Russ Johnson had to leave a game and landed on the disabled list after straining his right quadriceps.

So the Rays limp home today from a 1-5 road trip, which matches the second-worst in team history. It also was the third time the Rays have been swept this season.

Like they did in the first game of the series, the Rays put plenty of runners on base, but struggled to come up with key hits.

Tampa Bay stranded three runners in the first two innings. After that, the Rays seemed intent on erasing runners with double plays.

The Rays put the leadoff hitter on base in the fourth, seventh and eighth, only to hit into double plays later in the innings.

They even had a chance for a comeback against former Tampa Bay closer Roberto Hernandez in the ninth, but Andy Sheets struck out with the tying run on first base.

Hernandez picked up a win and a save in the three-game series.

Rays starter Brian Rose fared better than in his first start Sunday against the Indians, but did little to put the Rays in a position to win.

He threw just four innings, yet allowed the Royals to take a lead on three ocassions.

The right-hander pitched with runners on base virtually the entire night and did not help himself by throwing two wild pitches to allow runs to score.

The Rays tied the score in the second on a John Flaherty run-scoring single and again in the fourth when Flaherty hit into a bases-loaded double play.

Tampa Bay had the tying run on base in the eighth and ninth, but failed to come through with a clutch hit.

Fred McGriff's season-high 10-game hitting streak ended as did Ben Grieve's seven-game hitting streak.

The only bright spot for the Rays was the relief work of rookie Travis Phelps. Pitching with more than 90 family and friends shouting in Kauffman Stadium, the Missouri native retired nine hitters in a row.

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