While A-Rod Waits Yanks Dump Royals In ‘Grand’ Style

GAME 97

YANKEES 12, ROYALS 6

You never quite know what you are going to see at Yankee Stadium.
Hoping to see Alex Rodriguez’s historic 600th home run on Sunday, 47,890 fans instead saw a home run derby between Scott Podsednik and Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano’s 1,000th major-league hit and the Yankees score five runs in the eighth inning to finally put away the Kansas City Royals.
Rodriguez’s quest for No. 600 during the Yankees’ homestand was not to be, although he did go 2-for-4 with two RBIs before getting his third RBI the hard way in his last at-bat in the eighth. Reliever Blake Wood hit Rodriguez on his left forearm and hand and Rodriguez was removed from the game.
Meanwhile, Granderson seemingly awoke from his season-long slump to contribute a pair of solo home runs in the third and fourth innings.  Not to be outdone, Scott Podsednik, who entered the game with three home runs, clubbed two home runs for the Royals and drove in four of their six runs.
Phil Hughes (12-3) got credit for the victory. He gave up three runs in six hits and no walks and fanned three batters in five innings. His outing was cut short by a two hour and 32 minute rain delay. 
Sean O’Sullivan (1-1), who was bidding to beat the Yankees twice within six days with two different teams, took the loss. The right-hander, making his first start with the Royals after being traded from the Los Angeles Angels last week, was tagged five runs on seven hits in five innings.
With the victory the Yankees won the four-game weekend series with the Royals three games to one. They also improved their season record to 62-35 and they maintained their three-game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Boston Red Sox have now stumbled to eight games back in third place and are fading fast.
The Royals are 42-56 on the s
eason.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • It now appears that Granderson is finally showing the batting form the Yankees expected when they traded for him this winter. He has now hit in five straight games and he is hitting .327 in his last 13 games, The two-homer afternoon was the fifth in his career. 
  • Derek Jeter is also coming out of his month-long slump at the plate. He was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base. He is 12-for-29 (.414) in his last seven games with nine runs scored. In that time he has raised his batting average from .269 to .278.
  • Nick Swisher, back in the starting lineup after missing two games a sore left Achilles tendon, contributed a bases-loaded two-run single in the eighth inning. 
  • Cano’s 1,000 hit came in the eighth inning with a ground-rule two-run double off reliever Victor Marte. Cano is the third quickest Yankee to reach the mark behind Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly.

THE NEGATIVES

  • Whatever scouting report the Yankees compiled on Podsednik, they need to burn it and start over. The 34-year-old journeyman outfielder was 9-for-19 (.474) in the series with two home runs, six RBIs, three runs scored and four stolen bases.
  • Joba Chamberlain is quickly losing favor with manager Joe Girardi. Called upon in the eighth inning to protect a 7-3 lead, Chamberlain promptly walked No. 9 hitter Chris Getz and then he was taken deep by Podsednik for his second home run of the game, bringing the Royals to within two runs. Girardi had David Robertson warming up as Chamberlain got the next three batters.  There is a good chance Robertson will take over the setup duties for the Yankees.
  • On a day when the Yankees pounded out 12 runs on 14 hits and three walks, Jorge Posada did not get a chance to join the party. He was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. He also was called for an odd error in the ninth inning. With a runner at third and two out, Posada threw his mask as he tried to stop a Chan Ho Park pitch in the dirt. The mask struck the ball and the umpires ruled it interference and allowed Rick Ankiel to score. Posada was charged with an error even though the rule seems to state that the use of the mask to stop or retrieve a ball has to be deliberate. 
DIAMOND NOTES

Along with Swisher, the Yankees also welcomed back Brett Gardner to the starting lineup. Gardner missed Saturday’s game because of an acid reflux condition he has had for some years. Though Gardner returned from the hospital on Saturday and was cleared to play, Girardi said he decided to hold him out of the game because the tests run at the hospital required Gardner go under anesthesia. Gardner was 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI in Sunday’s game.  . . .   Despite the fact that Sergio Mitre struggled miserably on Saturday, Girardi said he remains the starter for now for Thursday’s game at Cleveland. Mitre was pounded for seven runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the Royals on Saturday. Girardi cited it was his first action since June 4 because he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.  However, after Dustin Moseley followed Mitre with 4 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, Girardi said a final decision on Thursday’s starter will be made on Monday.  . . .  Rodriguez and Girardi said that the third baseman was fine after being hit on the left hand and forearm in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game.  Rodriguez is expected to resume his quest for his 600th home run on Monday in Cleveland.
THE NEXT GAME

After a 6-3 homestand, the Yankees take to the road for seven games beginning in Cleveland. The Yankees will call upon right-hander Javier Vazquez to open the four-game series.
Vazquez (8-7, 4.68 ERA) won his last start against the Angels despite giving up five runs in five innings. In his previous two starts he had only given up one run in 14 innings.  Vazquez is 7-5 with a 4.40 ERA in his career against the Indians.
Vazquez will be opposed by veteran right-hander Jake Westbrook (6-6, 4.74 ERA), who gave up four runs in six innings in a loss to the Twins on July 21. He is 2-4 with a 5.29 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

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