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New York at Kansas City

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N.Y. Yankees (22-13) «001020000360
Kansas City (18-15)001100000261

Pettitte, Wells lead Yankees to tight win in Kansas City

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andy Pettitte finally stopped beating himself up long enough to look at video of his past couple of outings, subpar efforts by any stretch and certainly his own lofty standards.

It turned out that all the 40-year-old left-hander needed to do was a make a couple of minor adjustments -- alter his arm angle ever so slightly, for one thing -- to get back on track.

Pettitte pitched seven stellar innings Saturday night, and Vernon Wells hit a go-ahead two-run homer before making a long running catch for the final out, giving the New York Yankees a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.

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Pettitte (4-2) allowed seven runs against Houston and only lasted five innings his last time out against Oakland. But he looked more like he did early in the season against the Royals, with a piercing cutter and pinpoint control that kept Kansas City at bay all night.

"Whenever you get knocked around, it's not a good feeling. You never want that doubt to creep in that you're not able to get it done," Pettitte said. "Hopefully I can continue to get sharper and sharper."

Pettitte allowed only a run-scoring groundout by Lorenzo Cain and a solo homer by Billy Butler while improving to 15-3 in his career against the Royals. Kansas City hasn't beaten him in 14 starts dating to Sept. 4, 2000.

"I really don't think he's forgotten how to pitch, forgotten how to throw a cutter or any of that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I always say, when you're old or overweight -- and you don't want to be both -- and you're struggling, people are always going to be saying, 'Is something wrong? Is something wrong?' It's baseball. Everyone struggles."

Everyone except Mariano Rivera, it seems.

After David Robertson struck out the side in the eighth, Rivera worked around a two-out double by Salvador Perez for his 14th save. But it wasn't without some tension: Mike Moustakas hit a liner to right that landed just foul, and then scorched a pitch into the left-center field gap that Wells tracked down on the run to end the game.

It was Rivera's 14th save to start the season, and his 28th straight against the Royals. It came just over a year after he tore the ACL in his right knee while shagging balls in the Kauffman Stadium outfield during batting practice.

"I think Mo said it best, as an athlete, you can get hurt anywhere," Girardi said. "It just happened to be here. ... I'm sure it was good for him to get out there."

James Shields (2-3) was hurt by a throwing error on Moustakas at third base in the second inning that resulted in the Yankees' first run. He also gave up Wells' two-run shot in the fifth, moments after Butler's home run had staked Kansas City to 2-1 lead.

Shields wound up going eight innings for the third time in his last four outings, and each of those times he's failed to pick up the win. He dropped to 7-15 in his career against New York.

"You've got to pitch better," Shields said. "That's it."

It was the Royals' fifth loss in six games.

"Andy Pettitte threw the ball great," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Kept the ball down. Changes speeds. Hit his spots really well. We never mounted much of an attack."

The bounces certainly seemed to be going the Yankees' way most of the night.

Travis Hafner hit a slow grounder toward first base in the fourth inning, and Shields and first baseman Eric Hosmer had trouble deciding who should grab it. Neither of them did until it was too late, and Hafner coasted across the bag for an infield single.

Lyle Overbay hit another grounder in the sixth inning that Elliot Johnson fielded at second base, but only after shortstop Alcides Escobar bumped into him. The slight hiccup allowed Jayson Nix to reach second safely and Overbay to be safe at first.

Meanwhile, a hard-hit ball by Moustakas leading off the seventh inning caromed off Pettitte's glove and right to Robinson Cano. The Yankees' second baseman made the soft toss to first, turning a potential base hit into an easy groundout.

Cano had another rough night in Kansas City, though.

The Yankees' All-Star was booed mercilessly for the second straight night by Royals fans who no doubt still remember his decision to snub Butler for the AL squad during last year's home run derby, which was hosted by the Royals as part of All-Star festivities.

Cano went 0 for 4 and struck out looking in the seventh, arguing with plate umpire Mark Wegner over the third strike. First base coach Mick Kelleher got between them and Girardi also ran onto the field to make sure Cano wouldn't be tossed from the game.

Notes

  • The Yankees plan to use a pitcher to fill the 26th player on the roster for Monday's doubleheader at Cleveland. Girardi didn't know who it would be.
  • Royals RF Jeff Francoeur was back in the starting lineup after having Friday night off.
  • RHP Hiroki Kuroda (4-2) will pitch Sunday's series finale for the Yankees against Kansas City RHP Ervin Santana (3-1).
 
Copyright 2014 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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Mariano Rivera pitches a scoreless ninth inning and picks up his 14th save of the season. (USATSI)
Mariano Rivera pitches a scoreless ninth inning and picks up his 14th save of the season. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Butler
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
New York

V. Wells
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
New York Yankees
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brett Gardner, CF3000112 .259
Robinson Cano, 2B4000011 .306
Vernon Wells, LF4112001 .281
Travis Hafner, DH4010010 .270
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4000011 .272
Jayson Nix, SS3020100 .253
Lyle Overbay, 1B4010023 .263
Chris Nelson, 3B4110003 .231
Chris Stewart, C2100001 .232
Totals3236226  
Batting
2B - Jayson Nix (3, Shields), Chris Nelson (3, Shields)
HR - Vernon Wells (8, Shields)
RBI - Vernon Wells 2 (18)
2-OUT RBI - Vernon Wells 2 (6)
CS - Brett Gardner (3, 2nd base by Shields/Perez)
Team LOB - 5
New York Yankees
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Andy Pettitte (W,4-2) 7522171 3.83
David Robertson (H,7) 1000030 3.00
Mariano Rivera (S,14) 1100000 1.76
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 100-68, David Robertson 12-9, Mariano Rivera 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 11-3, Mariano Rivera 2-1
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 27, David Robertson 3, Mariano Rivera 4
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alcides Escobar, SS4010011 .261
Lorenzo Cain, CF3001110 .315
Alex Gordon, LF4000032 .313
Billy Butler, DH4111020 .236
Eric Hosmer, 1B4010010 .269
Salvador Perez, C4020000 .284
    Jarrod Dyson, PR0000000 .259
Mike Moustakas, 3B4000012 .217
Jeff Francoeur, RF3000002 .226
Elliot Johnson, 2B3110010 .270
Totals33262110  
Batting
2B - Salvador Perez (6, M. Rivera)
HR - Billy Butler (4, Pettitte)
RBI - Lorenzo Cain (17), Billy Butler (20)
SB - Elliot Johnson (3, 2nd base off Pettitte/Stewart)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Johnson-Hosmer
E - Mike Moustakas (6, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James Shields (L,2-3) 8632251 2.48
Kelvin Herrera 1000010 4.41
HBP - Stewart (by James Shields)
Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 116-68, Kelvin Herrera 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 5-13, Kelvin Herrera 1-1
Batters Faced - James Shields 32, Kelvin Herrera 3
Game Information
Attendance - 30910
Game Time - 2:30
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Tim Timmons, Third Base - Mike Winters