YANKEES 7, ROYALS 1
Robinson Cano stroked a three-run double, Jorge Posada drove in two runs for 1,001 RBIs in his career and A.J. Burnett pitched five innings of shutout baseball. But Friday’s game seemed more about what did not happen than what did.
Alex Rodriguez did not hit his 600th home run.
But, otherwise, the New York Yankees pounded the Kansas City Royals for the second night in a row in front of 46,801 at Yankee Stadium despite a one hour and 25 minute rain delay that definitely drenched the hopes of fans hoping to catch A-Rod’s historic moment.
Burnett (8-8) bounced back to even his record with a great effort, giving up four hits and a walk and striking out three batters. Brain Bannister (7-9) was tagged for four runs on six hits and two walks and he struck out five in 4 2/3 innings.
Cano’s bases-loaded three-run double in the first inning off Bannister pretty much set the tone for the rest of the evening. Posada blasted an RBI double in the first inning for his 1,000th RBI in his career and he added an RBI single in the seventh inning off reliever Dusty Hughes.
Brett Gardner drove in the other two runs with a two-run single in the sixth inning off reliever Victor Marte. Rodriguez singled twice and walked in four at-bats but did not come close to hitting the home run the crowd was expecting.
The victory puts the Yankees at a season-high 27 games over .500. They have won 14 of their last 18 games and they improved the lead in the American League East to four games over the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost to the Indians 3-1 on Friday. The Boston Red Sox remain seven games back in third place.
The Royals’ season record fell to 41-55.
- Burnett was in command of his control on Friday. There were no wild pitches and no hit batters. Burnett threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 18 batters he faced. He also needed only 58 pitches to record 15 outs and he showed no signs of the hand injury that forced him to be removed in the third inning of his last start. He left the game after five innings only because of the length of the rain delay.
- Cano’s three RBIs on Friday give him 66 for the season. He is tied with Mark Teixeira for second place on the team behind Rodriguez, who has 78.
- With his 1,000th RBI, Posada joins a rare group of catchers. He becomes only the fifth catcher to have 250 home runs, 350 doubles and 1,000 RBIs. The other four are Hall-of-Famers Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter and future Hall-of-Famer Ivan Rodriguez. Posada is the 12th Yankee to reach the mark and the third catcher. The other two are Yogi Berra (1,430) and Bill Dickey (1,209).
- Gardner’s night was feast or famine. He led off the game with a double and later scored on Cano’s single, doubled in
two runs in the sixth and walked in the eighth. However, in his other two plate appearances he struck out swinging. Gardner pushed his batting average up to .298.
- After going 5-for-10 in his last two games, Derek Jeter regressed to go 0-for-4, dropping his batting average back to uncustomary .271 on the season. He is hitting .219 in July. With Gardner at third and no outs in the first inning, Jeter bounced out to Bannister. With Curtis at second and Gardner at first and no outs in the eighth inning, Jeter hit into a double play.
- Though he pitched well overall in his three innings of work, Gaudin struggled in the eighth inning by giving up back-to-back doubles to Rick Ankiel and Yuniesky Betancourt to lose the shutout. Gaudin’s ERA this season is 6.54 but he has been pitching much better of late.
- Curtis Granderson struck out with two on and one out in the seventh inning. It was the 60th strikeout of the season for Granderson, which ties him for third most on the team. However, Granderson missed a month on the disabled list and is quickly headed to his fifth consecutive 100-strikeout season. Granderson is hitting a miserable .239 this season.
Rumors indicate the Yankees are in the driver’s seat in obtaining right-hander Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Various reports say the Yankees might be willing to part with a few young pitching prospects such as Ivan Nova and reliever Joba Chamberlain. The Yankees likely would use Haren to replace injured left-hander Andy Pettitte and then shift Phil Hughes to the eighth-inning setup role he had last season when Pettitte returns from the disabled list. Hughes is quickly reaching the 180-inning limit he has as a starter this season. Chamberlain has apparently disappointed the Yankees with stretches of inconsistency this season. . . . Nick Swisher was scratched from the starting lineup on Friday because of what was called “discomfort” in his left Achilles tendon. Swisher is uncertain as to how he incurred the injury. But he said it was not serious and he would be available to pinch-hit. Rookie outfielder Colin Curtis replaced Swisher in right-field and was 2-for-4 in the game.
THE NEXT GAME
The Yankees have already clinched a split of the four-game weekend series with the Royals. They will go for the series victory with Sergio Mitre on the mound.
Mitre (0-1, 2.88 ERA) will be activated from the disabled list to make this start in place of the injured Pettitte. Mitre was on the DL with a strained left oblique. He is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two spot starts earlier this season. He is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA against the Royals in his career.
Kyle Davies (4-6, 5.65 ERA) will get the start for the Royals and he is wary of one bit of history concerning Alex Rodriguez. It was Davies who served up Rodriguez’s 500th home run on Aug. 4, 2007 in Yankee Stadium. With Rodriguez on home run No. 599 and looking for No. 600, Davies has his work cut out for him.
In his last start, the right-hander gave up three runs on 10 hits in seven innings in a no-decision against the Blue Jays. He is 1-0 with a 5.59 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.