Notes: Back to the future

Notes: Back to the future

OAKLAND -- Now, perhaps, the Royals can concentrate on building some momentum to carry them into 2006.

The 19-game slide is behind them but the schedule ahead presents some big challenges. Next up are three games against the Boston Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium and then three games in New York against the Yankees.

"Let's face it, the rest of the season we're going to be facing teams that are in a fight for the Wild Card or the division so, hopefully, we'll play some better baseball for the rest of the season and spoil things for people who are trying to get in there," first baseman Matt Stairs said.

There are still seven games each against the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians, both sniffing Wild Card hopes, and six against the Chicago White Sox, the American League Central leaders.

The Royals beat the Oakland Athletics, 2-1, on Saturday night with five former members of the A's organization helping out -- Stairs, Terrence Long, Angel Berroa, Mark Teahen and Mike Wood.

Stairs, a fan favorite in his A's days, recalled a pregame meeting with a fan during batting practice on Saturday.

"This man said his daughter was 13 and I was her favorite player," Stairs said. "I just took off my jersey and said, 'Here, give it to her.'"

Stairs smiled.

"Maybe the baseball gods gave something back to us with a victory," he said.

Rings for Bell: Manager Buddy Bell got a few calls from old friends after the skid-busting win.

"I got about 15 messages when I got back to the hotel -- most of them funny," he said. "They're old baseball guys who know how things go, so you don't often get any pity."

Just good-natured jibes.

In the immediate aftermath of Saturday night's win, Bell did not seem overly pleased with the Royals' performance.

"This is probably one of the worst games we played in terms of offensively and defensively but we've been on the other end of that, too," Bell said.

"Baseball is hard to explain, but we got one more point than they did and that's what matters."

The Royals had just four hits and made two errors.

Royals trivia: Stairs had what proved to be the game-winning RBI on Saturday night. Who had the game-winner in the last Royals win on July 27 over the White Sox? (Answer below.)

Schilling on horizon: The Red Sox announced that Curt Schilling will return to their rotation for next Thursday night's game at Kauffman Stadium. Schilling had nine saves in 11 chances during his stint as the Sox closer.

In his last outing, Schilling pitched two perfect innings with four strikeouts and got the win in a 10-inning, 4-3 victory at Anaheim. Overall, Schilling is 5-5 with a 6.37 ERA. This will be his fourth start of the season but his first since April.

DeJesus still out: Center fielder David DeJesus was out of the lineup on Sunday for the second straight day because of a sore left rib cage.

DeJesus will get more healing time during Monday's open date and Bell hopes to have him back in the lineup Tuesday night against the Red Sox in Kansas City.

Final numbers crunch: During their 19 straight losses, the Royals were outscored 148-64. They hit just .227 with 12 home runs to their opponents' .320 and 26 homers.

Over the stretch, Royals pitchers compiled a 7.26 ERA, the defense committed 14 errors (they had been charged with two more errors, but those were later deleted by official scoring changes).

Stairs in talks: Stairs has met with general manager Allard Baird about returning to the Royals next season.

"He wants me back so we're negotiating a contract," Stairs said.

"We do have some interest," Baird said. "He's done a quality job. We've used him more than we anticipated when we originally signed him. He's done a solid job on the field as well as in the clubhouse."

Farm report: Right-hander Ryan Jensen's record fell to 1-9 with a 6.84 ERA when he gave up six runs in six innings of Triple-A Omaha's 9-1 loss to New Orleans on Saturday. ... Shortstop Angel Sanchez hit two home runs and had four RBIs as Class A High Desert beat Rancho Cugamonga, 8-3.

Trivia answer: In the 13th inning, Emil Brown hit a bases-loaded single off Luis Vizcaino to give the Royals a 6-5 victory at Kauffman Stadium. DeJesus scored the run.

On deck: After an off-day on Monday, the Royals are back at Kauffman Stadium for three games against the Red Sox. Left-hander David Wells (9-6, 4.70 ERA) will oppose Royals right-hander Zack Greinke (3-14, 6.02 ERA) in the series opener at 7:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.