Runelvys Hernandez said he was not trying to hit anybody. The Tigers did not believe him.

Hernandez allowed two hits through five innings before he was ejected after triggering a bench-clearing brawl in the sixth during Kansas City's win in Detroit yesterday.

The Royals had three players and Manager Buddy Bell ejected in the melee that started after Hernandez beaned Detroit's Carlos Guillen in the helmet, his third hit batter of the game.

"What he did is not acceptable," Tigers C Ivan Rodriguez said. "A pitcher cannot throw at a player's head. It's not a good thing to do."

The Royals led 4-0 when Hernandez threw a low pitch that Guillen thought hit him. Guillen argued with plate umpire Marty Foster, and Detroit Manager Alan Trammell came out to plead the case. The next pitch hit Guillen in the helmet.

"I didn't try to hit nobody," Hernandez said. "I feel sorry about that [hitting Guillen in the head]. But I didn't try to hit him on purpose."

Guillen yelled at Hernandez when he got up and the two charged each other. The dugouts and bullpens then cleared, with Hernandez and Guillen being kept away from each other.

"I think that's absolutely wrong, throwing at somebody's head," Detroit RHP Jeremy Bonderman said. "If I hit somebody in the head, I expect someone to do the same thing."

* PITCHING WOES (CONT.): The Yankees purchased the contract of RHP Aaron Small from Class AAA Columbus and designated IF Russ Johnson for assignment.

Small is scheduled to start on Wednesday against the Rangers, Manager Joe Torre said. Small was in spring training with the Yankees but was sent to the minors at the end of camp.

"Early on, he didn't have a lot of control," Torre said.

The Yankees have been casting about for pitching because four starters are on the disabled list. Kevin Brown is scheduled to come off the DL and start today at Texas.

Al Leiter started and won yesterday, a day after he was acquired from the Marlins.

-- From News Services

Royals RHP Runelvys Hernandez sparked a brawl with his beaning of Carlos Guillen. Six players were ejected.