|N.Y. Yankees «||5||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||x||6||10||1|
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees seemed poised for a perfect day.
After jumping out to a five-run lead in the first inning against the team with the worst record in the majors, the Yankees were cruising in front of a sellout Yankee Stadium crowd enjoying the beautiful spring weather.
"It was good to score five runs but we stopped," Johnny Damon said. "They retired a bunch of hitters in a row and we couldn't add on to the scoreboard. So it ended up being a close game."
Damon hit a leadoff home run to spark the five-run first, but the Kansas City bullpen retired 15 consecutive New York batters to end the game, and the Yankees needed to hold off the Royals to win 6-5 Sunday.
The Yankees seemed to have their fourth victory in five games wrapped up when they took a 6-0 lead in the second inning. But the Royals came back by scoring one run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and two in the seventh.
"Early in the year we would have just caved in," Kansas City first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said. "It's tough to battle out of a 6-0 hole but we tried."
In the end, however, the Royals lost for the 15th time in 16 games and saw their road record drop to 3-22. That equals the worst road start after 25 games in baseball history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Reggie Sanders doubled in Mientkiewicz to make it 6-4 in the seventh and chase New York reliever Scott Proctor. Two batters later, Emil Brown drove in Sanders with a single that made it 6-5.
Kyle Farnsworth recorded the last out of the inning to end the threat and then retired the side in the eighth. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 12 chances, tying Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for fourth on the all-time list with 390 saves.
"We got to Mo," New York manager Joe Torre said. "I think the stabilizer was Farnsworth having the eighth inning he had."
The Yankees wasted no time getting to Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez (1-4). Damon drove a 2-1 pitch into the right-field stands to put the Yankees up 1-0. It was Damon's sixth homer of the season, and his second leading off. Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield followed with singles and Jason Giambi made it 2-0 with a double to right.
Alex Rodriguez -- coming off a two-homer, three-RBI performance in Saturday's 15-4 victory -- followed with a bloop single over first base that scored Sheffield and Giambi.
Three batters later, Hernandez was gone after getting just two outs and the Yankees were seemingly in control. But not for long.
"Just because you're supposed to win games, doesn't mean you're going to win them," Rodriguez said. "These guys are dangerous. When you come in here with nothing to lose, look out."
After Robinson Cano drove in Jeter with a sacrifice fly in the second, the Yankees were done scoring. They didn't even have a hit after Damon singled in the third.
Royals relievers Bobby Keppel, Andrew Sisco, Joel Peralta and Elmer Dessens combined to give up just four hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings.
New York starter Jaret Wright (3-3), who tweaked his groin in a win Tuesday over Boston, was solid through five innings. He left after Tony Graffanino doubled to put runners on second and third with one out in the sixth.
Wright gave up three runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, and said his groin felt fine.
"I think (my) location was a little off all day, but I didn't really get tired and I guess that's good," he said. "I didn't have my good stuff, but it feels good to win those games."
New York 1B Giambi left the game in the seventh inning because of a cramp in his back. Torre said he doesn't expect him to miss tomorrow's game against Detroit. ... In the last 11 games, Kansas City starters are 1-8 with an 8.94 ERA. ... The Royals missed an opportunity to win their first road series of the season. They haven't won a series on the road since Aug. 19-21, 2005 against Oakland. ... There was an announced crowd of 54,372, the sixth sellout this season at Yankee Stadium. ... New York LF Melky Cabrera, who has had his adventures on defense, was a busy man. He had six putouts, one assist, and also slipped near the warning track on two separate occasions when fielding base hits.
|Alex Rodriguez watches his two-run single in the first inning, part of the Yankees' five-run outburst. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Kansas City Royals|
|Aaron Guiel, CF||4||0||1||0||1||1||0||.220|
|Mark Grudzielanek, 2B||5||0||1||1||0||0||2||.310|
|Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B||5||2||2||0||0||1||2||.253|
|Reggie Sanders, RF||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||.239|
|Shane Costa, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.275|
|Matt Stairs, DH||3||0||1||1||0||0||0||.241|
|a- Esteban German, PH-DH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.392|
|Emil Brown, LF||4||1||3||1||0||0||1||.255|
|Tony Graffanino, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||1||3||.267|
|Angel Berroa, SS||3||0||0||1||0||0||0||.244|
|John Buck, C||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.245|
|a-walked for Stairs in the 7th|
|2B - Doug Mientkiewicz (12, Proctor), Reggie Sanders (9, Proctor), Emil Brown (13, Wright), Tony Graffanino (7, Wright)|
|SF - Angel Berroa (1)|
|RBI - Mark Grudzielanek (11), Reggie Sanders (23), Matt Stairs (15), Emil Brown (21), Angel Berroa (19)|
|2-OUT RBI - Reggie Sanders (4), Emil Brown (8)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Grudzielanek-Berroa-Mientkiewicz|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Runelvys Hernandez (L,1-4)||0.2||6||5||5||1||0||1||7.44|
|IBB - Rodriguez by Bob Keppel|
|Pitches-Strikes - Runelvys Hernandez 33-20, Bob Keppel 55-33, Andrew Sisco 32-20, Joel Peralta 13-10, Elmer Dessens 13-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Runelvys Hernandez 1-0, Bob Keppel 4-3, Andrew Sisco 1-2, Joel Peralta 2-0, Elmer Dessens 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Runelvys Hernandez 8, Bob Keppel 14, Andrew Sisco 6, Joel Peralta 3, Elmer Dessens 3|
|New York Yankees|
|Johnny Damon, CF||4||1||2||1||0||1||2||.284|
|Derek Jeter, SS||4||2||2||0||0||1||1||.352|
|Gary Sheffield, DH||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.311|
|Jason Giambi, 1B||3||1||1||1||0||1||0||.268|
|Andy Phillips, 1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.208|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||3||0||1||2||1||1||0||.291|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||3||0||0||1||0||0||1||.293|
|Melky Cabrera, LF||3||1||0||0||1||1||2||.294|
|Terrence Long, RF||3||0||1||1||0||0||0||.235|
|Kelly Stinnett, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.220|
|2B - Jason Giambi (7, Ru. Hernandez)|
|HR - Johnny Damon (6, Ru. Hernandez)|
|SF - Robinson Cano (2)|
|RBI - Johnny Damon (26), Jason Giambi (38), Alex Rodriguez 2 (41), Robinson Cano (19), Terrence Long (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Terrence Long (1)|
|CS - Johnny Damon (2, 2nd base by Keppel/Buck)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|Outfield Assists - Melky Cabrera 1|
|E - Terrence Long (1, misplayed grounder)|
|New York Yankees|
|Jaret Wright (W,3-3)||5.1||9||3||3||1||2||0||4.30|
|Scott Proctor (H,6)||1.1||2||2||2||0||2||0||3.82|
|Kyle Farnsworth (H,7)||1.1||1||0||0||0||1||0||4.50|
|Mariano Rivera (S,11)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.59|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jaret Wright 94-55, Scott Proctor 20-14, Mike Myers 7-3, Kyle Farnsworth 12-10, Mariano Rivera 10-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jaret Wright 5-8, Mariano Rivera 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Jaret Wright 25, Scott Proctor 6, Mike Myers 1, Kyle Farnsworth 5, Mariano Rivera 3|
|Attendance - 54372|
|Game Time - 2:54|
|Temperature - 77|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg|