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Kansas City at New York

Yankees rally from three down in eighth behind Jeter's clutch HR

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter stepped to the plate with the Yankees trailing in the eighth inning, having just watched Johnny Damon strike out on three pitches.

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by Scott Miller
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Jeter showed New York's latest star addition how things get done in the Bronx. His three-run homer soared into the left-field seats to cap a five-run rally, and New York beat the Kansas City Royals 9-7 Tuesday to win its club-record ninth straight home opener.

"He always had a flair for the dramatic," Bernie Williams said. "I would be surprised if he doesn't do anything."

Chien-Ming Wang wasted a 4-1 lead before the stirring comeback calmed what had been a disappointed sellout crowd of 54,698. It was the first game at Yankee Stadium since last October's playoff flop against the Los Angeles Angels, and New York went 2-4 on its season-opening West Coast trip.

Kansas City, which lost a major league-high 106 games last year, hasn't won at Yankee Stadium since August 2002. Jason Giambi hit an early three-run homer to help extend the Royals' losing streak in the Bronx to 12.

With the Royals ahead 7-4, Giambi fell behind 1-2 in the count against Andrew Sisco (0-1) leading off the eighth, then walked. Hideki Matsui singled and Jorge Posada got the Yankees' ninth walk of the game, loading the bases.

Robinson Cano hit an RBI groundout, beating the relay to first to avoid a double play. That brought up Williams, who received more standing ovations from Yankees fans who worried last fall that he wouldn't be re-signed.

He cost New York in the fourth when he was doubled up at second on a popup, but this time he punched a run-scoring single to left.

"I was hoping that I could do something to redeem myself," Williams said.

Ambiorix Burgos relieved to face Damon, playing his first game in pinstripes after spending four seasons with Boston. Damon slammed his bat in the dirt after swinging under a belt-high fastball, and Jeter came to the plate.

"It seems when something needs to happen, he seems to be at the start of it or the end of it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Yet in previous home openers, Jeter had no homers and two RBI in 34 at-bats. The Yankees' captain was looking for a fastball, but jumped on a splitter.

"They're all special," said Jeter, who refused to rank the great moments he's had in this ballpark. "It seems like the season hasn't really officially started until we play our home opener."

Scott Proctor (1-1) pitched one inning for the win, and Mariano Rivera finished for his first save.

Rivera had no doubt Jeter would come through.

"I've seen it for years," Rivera said. "That doesn't surprise me at all."

Rivera hit Mike Sweeney on the palm of his right hand with a pitch in the ninth, forcing the designated hitter from the game and putting two runners on with one out. But the closer struck out Reggie Sanders and caught Doug Mientkiewicz's soft looper for the final out.

Burgos said through a translator that his pitch to Jeter was "right down the middle." Sisco, whose ERA climbed to 21.00, called his own performance "unacceptable."

"It seems like we've seen this story in Yankee Stadium before," Sweeney said. "We showed a lot of character, never stopped fighting, we take the lead and we lose. It happened a couple of years ago on opening day."

Sanders homered off Wang. After Angel Berroa's double-play grounder put the Royals ahead in the sixth, Shane Costa sent Tanyon Sturtze's first pitch into the first row of the right-field stands for a 6-4 lead in a two-run seventh.

Giambi connected in the first inning off struggling Joe Mays, and Damon jump-started New York's early offense with an opposite-field double and a walk in his first two plate appearances.

After that he sacrificed, grounded out and struck out. He was especially happy Jeter came through following his strikeout.

"I jumped high out of the dugout," Damon said. "The guy knows how to play."

Mays walked five in 2 2/3 innings, throwing 31 of 59 pitches for balls. After giving up a grand slam to Matsui in the Japanese outfielder's first home game with the Yankees in 2003, Mays walked him with the bases loaded in the third. Mike Wood came in and escaped further damage when Posada hit a squibber that the reliever picked up and threw to first.

Fans in the right-field bleachers chanted Damon's name during the first-inning roll call. Williams' turn expanded to a stadium-wide chant. But in his new role as a designated hitter, the longtime Yankees star was back in the clubhouse.

Torre said he tried to get another player to wave from dugout to fool the fans and end the chant. Pitcher Shawn Chacon went up the tunnel to retrieve Williams.

"By the time I went down," Williams said, "it was already calm."


  • Bob Sheppard's distinctive voice was missing from the Yankees' home opener for the first time since 1950. The public-address announcer threw out his left hip Monday night at his Long Island home. He hopes to be back April 21.
  • There was a moment of silence before the game for Maggie Dixon, the Army women's basketball coach who died last week at age 28.
  • The Yankees won eight straight home openers from 1920-27.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Derek Jeter rounds third base after hitting a three-run home run to give the Yankees the lead.  (AP)
Derek Jeter rounds third base after hitting a three-run home run to give the Yankees the lead. (AP)

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Kansas City Royals
Shane Costa, CF5111002
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5120000
Mike Sweeney, DH4000011
    Esteban German, PR-DH0000000
Reggie Sanders, RF5122012
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B4210112
Emil Brown, LF4120011
Mark Teahen, 3B3121100
Angel Berroa, SS3011111
John Buck, C4011002
2B - Mark Grudzielanek (, Sturtze), Emil Brown (, Wang), Mark Teahen (, Wang)
HR - Shane Costa (, Sturtze), Reggie Sanders (, Wang)
RBI - Shane Costa (), Reggie Sanders 2 (), Mark Teahen (), Angel Berroa (), John Buck ()
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teahen (), Angel Berroa (), John Buck ()
CS - Reggie Sanders (, 2nd base by Myers/Posada)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Teahen-Grudzielanek-Mientkiewicz, Berroa-Grudzielanek
Kansas City Royals
Joe Mays 2.2344501
Mike Wood 2.1200200
Elmer Dessens (H,) 2000020
Andrew Sisco (H,; L,-) 0.1244200
Ambiorix Burgos (BS,) 0.2111021
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Mays 59-28, Mike Wood 38-18, Elmer Dessens 19-16, Andrew Sisco 22-11, Ambiorix Burgos 8-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Mays 5-2, Mike Wood 3-3, Elmer Dessens 4-0, Andrew Sisco 1-0
Batters Faced - Joe Mays 15, Mike Wood 10, Elmer Dessens 6, Andrew Sisco 5, Ambiorix Burgos 3
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, CF3210112
Derek Jeter, SS4113102
Gary Sheffield, RF5000024
Alex Rodriguez, 3B2100210
Jason Giambi, 1B1213300
    Andy Phillips, 1B0000000
Hideki Matsui, LF3111101
Jorge Posada, C3010104
Robinson Cano, 2B4111001
Bernie Williams, DH4121000
2B - Johnny Damon (, Mays)
HR - Derek Jeter (, Burgos), Jason Giambi (, Mays)
SH - Johnny Damon ()
RBI - Derek Jeter 3 (), Jason Giambi 3 (), Hideki Matsui (), Robinson Cano (), Bernie Williams ()
2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter 3 (), Jason Giambi 3 (), Hideki Matsui ()
Team LOB - 6
DP - Jeter-Giambi
New York Yankees
Chien-Ming Wang 6855211
Tanyon Sturtze 0.1322011
Mike Myers 0.2000010
Scott Proctor (W,-) 1000110
Mariano Rivera (S,) 1100010
HBP - Sweeney (by Mariano Rivera)
WP - Chien-Ming Wang 2 ()
Pitches-Strikes - Chien-Ming Wang 86-49, Tanyon Sturtze 12-9, Mike Myers 5-4, Scott Proctor 20-11, Mariano Rivera 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chien-Ming Wang 12-4, Mariano Rivera 1-1
Batters Faced - Chien-Ming Wang 27, Tanyon Sturtze 4, Mike Myers 1, Scott Proctor 4, Mariano Rivera 5
Game Information
Attendance - 54698
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Terry Craft