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Brett, 40, Swings His Bat Like Old Times : Baseball: He has two home runs, including 10th-inning shot that leads Royals over Angels, 9-8.

September 27, 1993| From Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — George Brett, 40, still has fun playing baseball. All it took was his biggest game in five years.

One day after he announced he will retire at the end of the season, Brett hit two home runs and drove in five runs, including a 10th-inning homer that gave the Kansas City Royals a 9-8 victory over the Angels on Sunday.

"I haven't been in that situation in a long, long time," Brett said. "I never wanted to go out and not perform well. I'm not the player I once was, and I'll be the first to admit it."

Brett, who has three home games remaining, doubled in a run in the first and hit a three-run home run in the fourth. It was his second two-homer game this season and the 16th of his career. It was his first five-RBI game since May 22, 1988. For good measure, he reached another milestone. He now has 1,119 extra base hits, passing Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams to stand 10th on the all-time list.

On Saturday, he said he was retiring because baseball had become a job. For a few hours, the second home run erased those thoughts.

"I stayed with it and got it up in the jet stream," he said. "There was a pretty good cross wind out there today. But you're entitled to some of those. I've hit some into the wind and I've hit some when there was no wind."

Brett took a little hop and pumped his arms as he rounded second after a homer into the right field bullpen. Bullpen coach Bruce Kison retrieved the ball for him.

"If it's the last home run I ever hit, I'll have it inscribed and have it hang in my trophy case," Brett said. "Hopefully, there will be another. It would be sweet to have this come again Wednesday."

Said Angel Manager Buck Rodgers: "This last weekend, you might see the best baseball out of George Brett that you've seen in two years just because it's a sprint for him now."

Brett, who leads the Royals with 74 RBIs, has four home runs in his last five games and 19 this season, his most since hitting 24 in 1988.

Kansas City tied the score in the ninth, scoring three runs with the help of three walks. Brett was the first runner after he was hit by Steve Frey. Frey then walked a batter and was replaced by Joe Grahe, who walked two more batters, forcing in a run, and gave up a two-run single to Mike Macfarlane.

Jeff Montgomery (6-5) pitched one hitless inning for the victory.

Brett's double in the first, which extended his season-high hitting streak to 12 games, put the Royals ahead, but Stan Javier and Torey Lovullo singled home runs in the second.

Javier's second homer this season gave the Angels a 3-1 lead in the fourth, but Felix Jose's sacrifice fly and Brett's first homer put Kansas City ahead, 5-3, in the inning.

The Angels tied the score off Chris Haney in the fifth on run-scoring singles by Perez and Chris Turner, and took an 8-5 lead in the sixth on Luis Polonia's double off John Habyan and run-scoring singles by Chili Davis and Eduardo Perez off Stan Belinda.

Polonia stole third base in the sixth inning, giving him a career 52 steals this season. With four stolen bases in the game, the Angels took over the American League lead with 164, one more than the Toronto Blue Jays.

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