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VonneMarie
04-01-2003, 10:02 AM
Runelvys Hernandez gets the Royals started the right way
By DAVID BOYCE
The Kansas City Star

When Runelvys Hernandez uncorked his third pitch of the season opener, the Royals were already in better shape than a year ago.

While it might not seem like a big deal that the game was still scoreless after three pitches against the White Sox, it was significant for a team trying to erase memories of a 100-loss season.

A year ago, opening-day starter Jeff Suppan gave up a home run to Twins outfielder Jacque Jones on his second pitch. The Royals wound up losing 8-6. It was the prelude to a horrible year.

If a dazzling, opening-day start can do the opposite, Hernandez's first outing of the season could bode well for the Royals. Hernandez gained a victory in the Royals' 3-0 win against the White Sox on Monday afternoon at Kauffman.

Hernandez was close to perfect in his six innings. He gave up just two hits, walked one batter, struck out five and threw just 77 pitches.

It was the kind of game that would make any father proud. Hernandez's dad, Vidal Hernandez, flew in from the Dominican Republic and was in attendance along with Hernandez's 3-month old son, Runelvys Hernandez Jr.

"I gave him a big hug after the game," Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney said of his teammate. "One day your dad is going to look at the tape of this game and say, `That's my son' and be really proud."

Only White Sox third baseman Joe Crede managed to reach second base, and that came on a two-out double in the top of the second. Hernandez ended that inning by getting Aaron Rowand to roll an easy grounder to second base, which Carlos Febles gobbled up.

Hernandez received the start on a coin flip, but he delivered a performance that any manager would love in a season opener.

"It was great. I can't believe it," Hernandez said. "I thank the guys for giving me the opportunity, and I don't want to lose the opportunity."

Hernandez showed plenty of ability to get major-league hitters out last season when he was called up and went 4-4 with 4.36 ERA in 12 starts. But Sweeney saw a more composed Hernandez on Monday afternoon.

"Today, for the first time in his career, he looked like a veteran," Sweeney said. "He didn't look like a cocky young kid that was trying to make a statement."

As the game went on, Hernandez got stronger and stronger. He gave up two-out hits in the first and second innings, but after that, he completely shut down the White Sox.

"I tried to do the same thing in the first, second innings," Hernandez said. "I didn't want to try to do too much. I wanted to concentrate and stay in the game and help the team."

The way Hernandez pitched left a nice impression on Pena.

"He pitched great," Pena said. "They (White Sox) are a good club. He kept them off-balance."

Sure-Oz
04-01-2003, 12:11 PM
Jeff Suppan sucks, but I like his wife, alot...

Props to Hernandez.

VonneMarie
04-01-2003, 12:14 PM
I'll take Hernandez. Good job Hernandez! :thumb: