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Yankees stay hot, pound Royals for sixth straight win

Jul 26, 2007 - 5:07 AM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Melky Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez made sure the New York Yankees continued their offensive fireworks en route to a 7-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

Mike Mussina (5-7) pitched 5 1/3 strong innings and the bullpen made an early lead stand up for the Yankees, who have won six games in a row to move within 6 1/2 games of the Boston Red Sox (61-40) in the American League East - the closest they have been since being six games back on May 9.

After scoring 56 runs in their previous four games, the Yankees collected just a pair of runs in the first six innings, as Cabrera connected for a two-out, two-run homer in the second inning.

"I was looking up there and seeing that we were ahead 2-0 and saying 'we need more runs'," Yankees Manager Joe Torre said. "But, then you shake yourself and say 'hey, that's not the norm'. We can't expect to score all those runs early all the time. It's just as important to win the close games, too."

Following the first of Robinson Cano's three hits, Cabrera hammered a 1-0 pitch 405-feet over the right field wall to give New York an early 2-0 lead.

"As soon as he hit it I put my head down and started running," Cano said. "I knew he hit it good. He was happy because he was helping the team to win the game and we needed that early in the game."

Cabrera then matched a season high with his third RBI of the game, bringing in a run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh to push the Yankees lead to 3-1.

"The kid knows how to hit," Torre said. "He sometimes swings at pitches outside the zone, but he keeps his wits about him and the pressure doesn't bother him. That's impressive considering his age."

Mussina turned in his best effort in nearly a month, allowing one run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings while walking two and striking out four to improve his career record to 9-2 at Kauffman Stadium. The veteran righthander overcame a rough outing last Friday in which he surrendered six runs to lowly Tampa Bay to take the loss.

"Moose was great," Torre said. "He did things with his stuff I wish he'd done in his previous start. I don't think he got as frustrated tonight when he didn't get strikes called. Tonight he stayed the course. I know he was unhappy the other night, and he didn't let it bother him tonight."

"I was better tonight," Mussina said. "I pitched in better counts and got my curve over. I was able to do what I wanted with it. I generally know in the first two or three (pitches) if I can count on it. The first batter, DeJesus, I threw him a couple and it felt good coming out of my hand."

Five relievers combined to close it out for Mussina. The bullpen came into Wednesday's contest with a 5.01 ERA in Mussina's starts, but turned in 3 1/3 scoreless frames against the Royals.

"Our bullpen was great," Torre said. "Villone got a big out for us, and so did Mike (Myers). It was more impressive us winning this game when we were ahead 2-1 and getting those tough outs we needed. It was a good game for us."

New York broke the game open with four runs in the eighth, highlighted by Rodriguez's two-run homer, his 35th of the season and 499th of his career.

"This is just a stopoff for him," Torre said. "Considering his age, and in a few years he's going to be going for 600. That's crazy at his age."

"It's easier to focus on goals when the team is playing well," Rodriguez said. "I take as much satisfaction from (the home run) as I do the single up the middle in the ninth. We're just looking for wins. It's hard for me to focus on this when every win is so important."

The perennial All-Star's blast knocked out Kansas City starter Gil Meche, who was tagged with his first loss since June 9. The Royals' $55 million ace tossed 7 1/3 frames, yielding nine hits and five runs while striking out one and issuing one walk.

"I don't know how Alex hit that ball," Meche said. "Well, I guess I know how, but if I could have walked up there and placed the ball where I wanted to throw it in that situation, with a cutter and on a 3-2 count, I wouldn't have thrown it any other place. I mean it was down and on the corner. He just went down there and got it. He's probably the only guy in this league who can hit a ball that hard in that location. There's nothing else you can do but tip your hat in that situation."

"I thought he (Meche) was outstanding," Royals Manager Buddy Bell said. "Rodriguez hit a great pitch down and away."

Hideki Matsui followed Rodriguez with a solo shot, his 18th of the season.

With their sixth straight victory, the Yankees have clinched their sixth straight series win and have a major league-best 12-3 record since the All-Star break.

"We like what we're doing," Torre said. "There's a lot of baseball left. It's important for us to make sure the good streaks outlast the bad ones."

"Those guys are hot and playing well," Bell said. "Everybody from one through nine is swinging well. There's no let up in that lineup."

The Royals lone run came when Ross Gload doubled with two out in the sixth and came in to score on Reggie Sanders' single to left.

"We've got to put some hits together," Bell said. "We haven't been able to string anything together. We don't match up with teams that really bang."






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    hodb Added 5 roots

    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 29 1:06 AM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    NY YANKEES 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 7 13 0
    KANSAS CITY 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: NYY - MIKE MUSSINA, RON VILLONE (6TH), SCOTT PROCTOR (7TH), MIKE
    MYERS (7TH), LUIS VIZCAINO (8TH), MARIANO RIVERA (9TH) AND
    JORGE POSADA
    KAN - GIL MECHE, JIMMY GOB

    Jul 25 11:30 PM
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    Kellie1975 Added 5 roots

    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 25 11:21 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ANDY PHILLIPS SCORED ROBINSON CANO.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, A PHILLIPS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 7
    KANSAS CITY 1 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: M CABRERA (.280, 1-FOR-2, SF, HR, 3 RBI)

    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 25 10:53 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY HIDEKI MATSUI (18) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF JIMMY GOBBLE.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 6, KANSAS CITY 1
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J POSADA (.334, 1-FOR-3)

    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 25 10:45 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ALEX RODRIGUEZ (35) TO CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 8TH OFF GIL MECHE SCORED BOBBY ABREU.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 5, KANSAS CITY 1
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: H MATSUI (.289, 0-FOR-3)

    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 25 10:41 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY MELKY CABRERA SCORED JORGE POSADA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CANO ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 3
    KANSAS CITY 1 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.244, 0-FOR-3)

    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 25 10:13 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY REGGIE SANDERS SCORED ROSS GLOAD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R SANDERS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 2
    KANSAS CITY 1 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: A GORDON (.240, 1-FOR-2)

    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 25 10:00 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MELKY CABRERA (5) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 2ND OFF GIL MECHE SCORED ROBINSON CANO.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 2, KANSAS CITY 0
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.245, 0-FOR-1)

    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 25 8:38 PM
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    Yankees vs. RoyalsJul 24 5:38 PM