DENVER – Joe Kennedy pitched seven strong innings for his first victory in six starts, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Kansas City Royals 9-4 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Kennedy (4-7) allowed two runs and seven hits, with six strikeouts and no walks. He was 0-3 with two no-decisions since beating Pittsburgh on May 22.

Garrett Atkins had a career-high four hits and three RBIs, and Todd Helton had two hits as the Rockies got their second series sweep of the season.

Jose Lima (1-6) gave up four runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings, and Mark Teahen had two hits and an RBI for the Royals, who lost their sixth straight.

Kansas City scored twice in the first inning. David DeJesus opened with a single, advanced to third on Emil Brown’s two-out single to center and scored on Teahen’s single to right field. Brown, who reached third on Teanhen’s hit, scored on Justin Huber’s single to center.

Colorado tied it in the bottom of the inning. Atkins doubled to left with one out, and moved to third on Helton’s single off Lima’s glove. Preston Wilson followed with an RBI single to center, and Helton scored on Brad Hawpe’s grounder to second.

Kennedy settled down, retiring 18 of 21 batters over the next six innings.

Colorado chased Lima with a two-run fifth to make it 4-2. Atkins had an RBI single and Helton an RBI double with two outs. Lima departed after walking Wilson and Hawpe to load the bases.

Kennedy helped himself with a perfectly placed bunt on a safety squeeze bunt in the sixth. Desi Relaford drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on a fly out to right and scored on Kennedy’s bunt to first.

Dustan Mohr hit a solo homer for Colorado in the seventh. Atkins had a two-run double and Relaford was hit by a pitch with a bases loaded in the eighth inning.

Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs hit a two-run homer, his eighth, off Matt Anderson in the ninth.

Notes: Mike Sweeney felt some tenderness in his wrist a day after taking batting practice. Sweeney is due to come off the DL on July 1. … Emil Brown’s hit in the first extended his hitting streak to 13 games. … Kennedy received an ovation when he laid down a safety suicide bunt in the sixth. … The Rockies have set Monday as the day 2B Aaron Miles will return from the DL. … Helton, who had two hits, had only his sixth RBI in his last 19 games.

AP-ES-06-26-05 1756EDT

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