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Yankees sweep Royals; extend win streak to six

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Yankees sweep Royals; extend win streak to six

Postby WebHamster » Sun May 02, 2004 10:00 pm

Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Hideki Matsui's RBI single highlighted a two-run seventh inning, as New York extended its season-high win streak to six games with a 4-2 victory over Kansas City in the finale of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Jason Giambi hit a game-tying home run, while Ruben Sierra and Miguel Cairo each had an RBI for the Yankees, who swept Oakland in three games before taking this three-game set from Kansas City.

Mike Mussina was back to his old form with seven strong innings of two-run ball. Mussina (2-4) struck out two and did not issue a walk. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez finished 0-for-3 and saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end.

Mike Sweeney had two RBI and Carlos Beltran ended with two hits and a pair of runs scored for Kansas City, which has lost four in a row and six of its last seven games.

Jeremy Affeldt was reached for four runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings in the loss. Affeldt (0-3) struck out three and walked two batters.

Kansas City got to Mussina in the first inning for a 1-0 lead. Beltran stroked a one-out triple to deep right field and crossed the plate when Sweeney grounded out to Derek Jeter. Beltran has 45 career triples.

Sweeney plated Beltran again in the third inning to make it 2-0. Beltran again reached base with one out on a double to right field. Sweeney then ripped Mussina's 0-2 pitch up the middle to bring home Beltran.

"It's no question that whenever you face good pitching, you have to get to them early," said Royals manager Tony Pena.

The Yankees reached the scoreboard in the bottom half. Matsui led off with a double to right, tagged up and took third on a fly out by Sierra. Cairo then lifted a sacrifice fly to left, and Matsui just beat the throw home.

Giambi launched an upper-deck home run in the fourth inning to even the score. Affeldt got the first two batters out but Giambi made it 2-2 with a blast to the upper deck in right field.

Affeldt worked out of a sixth-inning jam to keep the game tied. Rodriguez drew a one-out walk and took third when Giambi singled to right field. Giambi, though, was out at second trying for a double. Affeldt then got Gary Sheffield to fly out to end the threat.

The KC starter then ran into some trouble in the seventh as the Yankees scored twice for a 4-2 advantage. Jorge Posada doubled leading off and raced home on Matsui's single to right field. Matsui, who took third on a wild pitch, came home on Sierra's ensuing sac fly to center.

"They just keep coming at you," Affeldt said. "It doesn't matter who's up there. They broke through on me in the seventh. Posada put the ball in a great place. Matsui put the ball in a great place...and that's all she wrote really."

Tom Gordon pitched a scoreless eighth for New York. Mariano Rivera struggled early in the ninth inning, but settled down for his ninth save. Rivera has now converted 24 consecutive save opportunities dating back to last season.

"I thought my stuff was okay early," Mussina said. "The last three innings or so, I got some better results. We battled back and got a home run to tie the game. Then the pitching got better from there from both myself and the bullpen."

Mussina retired the last 11 batters he faced and improved to 14-6 lifetime against Kansas City.

The Yankees activated outfielder Kenny Lofton from the 15-day disabled list prior to Sunday's game. In a related move, the team optioned outfielder Bubba Crosby to Triple-A Columbus.

New York was presented with its 2003 American League championship rings before the game.

Sierra is on a seven-game hitting streak.

Yankees manager Joe Torre missed Saturday's game to attend his daughter's first communion, but returned to the dugout Sunday for his 800th win as New York's skipper. Torre is only the fifth manager in Yankees' history to win 800 games with the club, joining Joe McCarthy (1,460), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944). He has 1,694 total wins for 13th place on the all-time managerial list.
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