A-Rod, Stinnett power Yankees' 15-4 rout of Royals

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez has found his rhythm, and he helped the Yankees get back in step on Saturday.

Rodriguez homered twice, Kelly Stinnett drove in four runs and the New York Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 15-4.

"Alex has been hot lately and I'm just happy for him," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I know what it means to him and it's helping us win games."

Rodriguez, the reigning AL MVP, went 2-for-3, scored four runs and is 9-for-19 (.474) in his last five games. He said he started to develop a good rhythm at the plate during the Yankees' three-game series at Boston, and it has carried over to the homestand.

"My swing for the most part has always been pretty sound," he said. "It's just a matter of going out and relaxing and not trying to do too much."

He didn't have to do much against the Royals, thanks to some unlikely offense from the bottom third of the Yankees' batting order. Miguel Cairo and Melky Cabrera had three RBI apiece, and Stinnett hit a three-run homer and a run-scoring single.

"I'm a backup catcher and I accept that role but I want to go out there on the offensive side and pull my weight," Stinnett said. "Today I was able to keep my hands inside the ball and get some good swings."

Cairo tied a career high with four hits for the Yankees, who jumped out to an 8-0 lead after three innings.

Tony Graffanino had two hits and drove in a run for Kansas City, which beat the Yankees 7-6 on Friday night to snap a 13-game losing streak but has had little success in New York otherwise. The
Yankees have won 15 of their last 16 games against Kansas City at Yankee Stadium.

They jumped on Royals starter Jeremy Affeldt early. Cairo, Cabrera and Stinnett had consecutive run-scoring singles in the second inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in New York's five-run third.

Affeldt (2-5) gave up 11 hits and 10 runs in 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and didn't strike out a batter. He has allowed 23 runs and 25 hits in his last 17 1/3 innings.

"How do I sum it up: Terrible," Affeldt said. "I'm up in the zone. I'm not consistent. I just don't feel good out there. It's getting kind of old. I've got to figure it out quick. Especially
the last two games I buried us before we could even get out of the gate."

Rodriguez led off the fifth with his 13th homer to make it 9-2. It was Rodriguez's first multihomer game of the season and the 41st of his career. He also moved into a tie with Dave Kingman for 33rd place on baseball's career list with 442 homers.

Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang (5-2) set down his first 11 batters before Doug Mientkiewicz doubled with two outs in the fourth. He worked seven innings, allowing four runs and four hits. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter.

Matt Stairs had an RBI double and scored on Graffanino's single in the sixth to cut the Yankees' lead to 9-4. But Wang struck out Aaron Guiel with Graffanino on first to end the inning.

"He threw first-pitch strikes and we were hitting behind in the count," said Matt Stairs, who doubled and scored for Kansas City. "I thought we had a good approach against him the second and third time around."

New York then scored six runs in the bottom half. Cairo and Cabrera each had a two-run double in the inning.

Cairo, Cabrera and Stinnett combined to go 9-for-13 with 10 RBI.

"It's good for guys who don't always get a lot of attention to help us," Torre said. "I thought it was really great. The guys at the top of the order actually had good at-bats but didn't get the results They kept hitting the ball hard at someone."

Game notes
Kansas City hasn't won consecutive games at Yankee Stadium since Aug. 18-19, 1999. ... Lefty-hitting second baseman Robinson Cano got the day off with southpaw Affeldt starting for the Royals. Torre also wanted to get some at-bats for Cairo. ... Right-hander Jaret Wright will take his turn in the rotation on Sunday. There was some concern he would have to be pushed back or miss a start after tweaking his groin in Tuesday's 7-5 win over the Boston Red Sox, but Torre said Wright felt fine during his bullpen session Friday.