for this game

Rodriguez, Jeter help Yankees slip by Royals

May 11, 2011 - 3:56 AM Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run single in the fifth inning for the go-ahead runs and the New York Yankees held on to beat Kansas City, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game series.

Freddy Garcia (2-2) pitched into the seventh inning for the win and the Yankees bullpen took care of the rest, with Mariano Rivera working around a single in the ninth for his league-leading 13th save.

Derek Jeter had two hits and knocked in the other run for New York, which has won three of its last four.

Former Yankee Melky Cabrera belted a solo homer for the Royals, who have lost seven straight on the road.

Garcia allowed one run on six hits and two walks, striking out three in his six-plus innings. He pitched to two batters in the seventh but was pulled for David Robertson after giving up a single to Jeff Francoeur and a walk to Eric Hosmer.

The Royals loaded the bases with one out against Robertson, but he settled down to strike out Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz to get out of the jam.

Joba Chamberlain struck out two in a perfect eighth and Rivera escaped the ninth with a double play after Francoeur had singled to lead off.

"Pitching is so important, and we're getting it," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Royals starter Kyle Davies (1-5) took the loss after giving up three runs on seven hits in five-plus innings.

"Every lineup in the American League is pretty tough. It's not like you can take a game off. But they have experienced hitters and they know how to work a pitcher," Davies said of the Yankees.

Both teams stranded six runners on base, but it seemed like Kansas City blew more chances.

"The difference in the game was they got the bases loaded and put the ball in play, and we got the bases loaded an didn't. That's the game," said Royals manager Ned Yost.

Bad baserunning cost the Royals a possible rally in the third inning when Matt Treanor led off with a single, but was thrown out at second base when Garcia stepped off the rubber and caught him stealing.

"Freddy just continues to find ways to get outs," said Girardi. "That's what he does."

Getz also singled in the inning, but made the third out when he tried to run on a pitch in the dirt. Catcher Russell Martin blocked the ball and gunned him down at second.

Brett Gardner tripled with two outs in the bottom of the third and scored when Jeter slapped a single past the shortstop Escobar and into left-center field, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Cabrera led off the fourth with a home run, belting a 2-0 fastball over the wall in center field to tie the game for Kansas City at 1-1.

Nick Swisher probably saved at least a run for New York in the fifth when he laid out for a diving catch on Getz's line drive in shallow right field for the third out. Kansas City had runners on first and second after back-to-back singles from Mike Aviles and Treanor.

The Yankees took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Rodriguez hit a two-run single past Escobar at short, mirroring Jeter's hit in the third. Gardner walked and Jeter singled earlier in the inning before scoring on Rodriguez's hit.

"RBI guys find a way to drive in runs, and that's what he did for us tonight," said Girardi. "We needed those runs."

Game Notes

Garcia improved to 10-13 against the Royals...The Yankees, coming off a 3-4 road trip, started a six-game homestand that ends with the first visit from the Boston Red Sox this weekend...Kansas City was coming off a 6-3 homestand and is playing six straight on the road...The Royals placed starting pitcher Bruce Chen on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a left lat strain and recalled pitcher Vin Mazzaro from Triple-A Omaha.