KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- It's games like this that make a team
feel almost invincible.
The New York Yankees had struck out 10 times and scored only
once in seven innings Monday night. Then they scored 10 runs in the
eighth inning and rolled over the Kansas City Royals 12-5.
Johnny Damon hit a game-tying single with the bases full in the eighth inning, raising his career batting average with the bases loaded to .420, which is by far the highest among the 47 active players with at least 150 plate appearances with the bases loaded. Mike Piazza is next at .367.
"We feel like we can win every game," said Johnny Damon, who
had a two-run single in the Yankees' biggest inning in more than a
year. "That's a great feeling when you can go out and build and
say regardless, we can score two runs here, three, four. Ten is a
stretch. But this team is made to win a championship."Jorge Posada started the rally with a two-run homer off reliever
Jimmy Gobble. Robinson Cano capped it with a three-run drive, and
the AL East-leading Yankees had just their third win in their last
eight tries in Kansas City."It just looks like we're just not going to be able to generate
anything, and all of a sudden it starts building up," manager Joe
Torre said. "It's all about confidence. They don't feel like
there's anything they can't do offensively. If they just a little
bit of a crack in the armor, we feel we can exploit it."Royals starter Luke Hudson had struck out a career-high 10, the
most by a Kansas City pitcher in five years, when he turned it over
to Gobble in the eighth.Posada cut the gap in half with his homer, and then Damon, a
former Royal, greeted Andrew Sisco with a tying, two-run single.Bobby Abreu lined a two-run double off the wall in straightaway
center with one out for 7-5 lead, delighting a crowd of 27,123 that
sounded pro-Yankees. Posada had an RBI single off Ambiorix Burgos,
and Cano homered for an 11-5 lead. Abreu also had an RBI single in
the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.It was New York's biggest road inning since the Yankees scored
10 at Seattle on May 8, 2003."I'm going to try to get this one out of my system right now,"
Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "The thing about this game is you
play one every day. We'll be out there tomorrow."The Yankees had been swept three games by the Royals last season
when they made their previous trip to Kansas City."We're not clicking on all cylinders, and we're able to go out
and do what we did tonight," Damon said.T.J. Beam (2-0) got one out for the win as New York (82-54)
moved a season-high 28 games over .500 and maintained a nine-game
lead in the AL East over second-place Boston. Scott Dohmann (1-2),
who loaded the bases with a walk to pinch-hitter Bernie Williams,
was the loser.Before the game, the Yankees said Mariano Rivera will miss the
three-game series because of a muscle strain near his right elbow.
The closer hasn't pitched since Thursday, and he wasn't needed in
this one.Until the eighth, the Yankees' lone run off Hudson came on
Abreu's RBI single that tied it 1-1 in the fifth.Derek Jeter stretched his hitting streak to 15 games and passed
Phil Rizzuto for the most games played by Yankees shortstop with
1,648. He was 3-for-6 and raised his average to .344, two points
behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer, the AL batting leader.Mark Teahen drove in Kansas City's first run with an infield out
in the first inning off Chien-Ming Wang and singled home David
DeJesus with the tiebreaking run in the sixth.DeJesus came sliding across the plate as catcher Posada lunged
for the tag, and replays showed he might have missed the plate.
Emil Brown followed with an RBI single.Kansas City added two in the seventh off Ron Villone on RBI
doubles by Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Sweeney.
Game Notes Hudson's 10 strikeouts were the most by a Royals pitcher
since Blake Stein struck out 11 in 2001 at Minnesota. ... Posada's
home run was his 192th, tying Tino Martinez for 12th on the Yankees
career list. ... The Royals were expected to purchase the contract
of RHP Jose Diaz from Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday, and he would be
their team-record 29th pitcher used this season. ... Jason Giambi
was hit twice by pitches, and has been hit 14 times this season.