Yankees open series against Royals with 7-4 win
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Derek Jeter had three hits and drove in three runs, including two with a go-ahead triple in the sixth inning Monday night, and struggling A.J. Burnett finally won a game in August for the New York Yankees in their 7-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Burnett (9-9) scattered 10 singles and a walk over 5 2/3 innings, but they only resulted in three runs. The right-hander had been winless in 13 starts in August since signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal with New York, going 0-8 with a 7.18 ERA. He even lost his last August start while still a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008.
His late-season struggles, combined with the fact he hadn’t won since June 29 — a stretch of seven starts — is a big reason manager Joe Girardi has considered dropping Burnett from the rotation down the stretch.
Mariano Rivera wrapped up the victory, pitching a perfect ninth for his 31st save.
Brett Gardner added a pair of RBI, and Mark Teixeira and pinch hitter Andruw Jones also drove in runs for the Yankees (73-46), who moved back into a tie with idle Boston for the AL East lead with their 12th win in 16 games.
Melky Cabrera and Billy Butler each drove in a pair of runs for the Royals, who lost for the eighth time in nine games. Felipe Paulino (1-5) didn’t provide much help from the mound, allowing five runs on five walks and eight hits in just 5 1/3 innings, the erratic performance running his winless streak to six consecutive games.
Things began ominously for Paulino, who was pulled early from his last start against Tampa Bay when his back stiffened up. He plunked Gardner leading off the game and walked Teixeira before he escaped the inning.
Paulino wasn’t as fortunate in the second, when Gardner and Jeter delivered two-out RBI singles.
The Royals squandered two decent scoring chances early, stringing together three singles in the second without a run, then putting runners on first and second with one out before a double play ended the fourth.
Kansas City finally broke through in the fifth.
Mike Moustakas snapped a 0-for-13 skid with a one-out single, and Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon followed with consecutive singles to load the bases. Cabrera walked on a full count to bring in the first run, and Butler lined a two-run single down the right-field line to give Kansas City the lead.
Robinson Cano ended the inning when the All-Star second baseman ranged to his left to gobble up Eric Hosmer’s ground ball, spun toward second base and threw to Jeter to begin a 5-4-3 double play.
New York promptly answered the Royals’ three-run inning with three of their own.
Jorge Posada, back in the lineup after a six-RBI game Saturday at Tampa Bay, singled with one out to start the sixth. Russell Martin’s single put runners on the corners, and Gardner’s RBI single tied the game.
Jeter came to the plate to a round of applause from a crowd split between Royals and Yankees fans, and he roped a two-run triple into the gap in right. Jeter slid headfirst into third base in dramatic fashion, even though strong-armed right fielder Jeff Francoeur didn’t have much chance of throwing him out.
The Yankees added an insurance run on Jones’ RBI single in the seventh. Kansas City matched it in the bottom half on Cabrera’s RBI double, but Teixeira restored the three-run cushion with an RBI in the eighth.
Notes: Yankees RHP Mark Prior (strained groin) struck out three and walked one in one scoreless inning during his fourth Gulf Coast League game. ... Jeter donated his batting helmet and gloves from his 3,000th hit to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. ... Royals rookie 2B Johnny Giavotella went 3-for-4, but was thrown out trying to steal second with two outs in the eighth inning. ... Every player in the Royals’ starting lineup had a hit. ... Ivan Nova (11-4) takes the mound for the Yankees tonight against Kansas City’s Danny Duffy (3-6).