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ROYALS-RANGERS BEANBALL WAR MOVES TO THE DUGOUT

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When the Kansas City-Texas beanball war heated up, Brian McRae charged the dugout, not the mound.

It was a strange sight to behold Thursday at Kaufman Field in Kansas City when McRae responded to getting plunked in the rear end by a fastball thrown by Ken Patterson.Instead of doing the usual drop-the-bat, lower-the-head and attack-the-pitcher routine, McRae did a 180-degree turn and shot toward the Texas dugout in the eighth inning of the Royals' 9-4 victory.

McRae wanted to go after Rangers manager Kevin Kennedy, who all but ignited the fight Wednesday night with something strongly resembling fighting words.

"We've been hit more times than anybody in baseball," Kennedy said that night after Rafael Palmeiro was hit by a pitch. "We don't have to complain to the league office. We'll take care of it. We can take care of ourselves."

McRae was met by Kevin Brown, Willie Upshaw and Kenny Rogers. They put a bear hug on the Kansas City outfielder as both benches emptied.

Greg Gagne hit a grand slam, and six of the Royals' seven hits went for extra bases. Tom Gordon (2-0), making his second start of the season, went six innings and gave up three hits and four walks, striking out six.

Loser Charlie Leibrandt (9-7) was making his first appearance in Kansas City since Sept. 22, 1989.

Blue Jays 7, Tigers 4

At SkyDome, the Blue Jays scored the game-winning runs in their final at-bat for the fourth straight game.

Red Sox 7, Brewers 4

At County Stadium, rookie Aaron Sele (5-0) won his fourth straight start and Mo Vaughn, Billy Hatcher and Ernest Riles homered.

Athletics 2, Angels 1

At Anaheim Stadium, Bob Welch (8-7) and two relievers combined on a seven-hitter and Oakland spoiled the major league debut of right-hander Phil Leftwich (0-1).

National League

Astros 2, Braves 0

At Houston, Pete Harnisch cooled off Atlanta with a four-hitter for his second shutout, and the Houston Astros got a two-run single from Jeff Bagwell to defeat the Braves.

Expos 3, Pirates 2

Delino DeShields scored the tying run, then singled home the winner in the 11th for Montreal at Pittsburgh.

Phillies 6, Cardinals 4

Pinch-hitter Darren Daulton drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning, forcing in the go-ahead run as Philadelphia beat St. Louis to sweep the three-game series and build a seven-game lead in the NL East.

Marlins 2, Mets 1

Charlie Hough pitched 71/3 strong innings and Henry Cotto singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning to help Florida win at New York.