Rodriguez's RBI single caps five-run rally in ninth
BRONX, New York (Ticker) - Reliever
New York Yankees
extra outs in the ninth inning. They were more than happy to take advantage.
's RBI single capped a five-run ninth-inning rally after a costly throwing error by Affeldt as the Yankees posted a dramatic 8-7 triumph over the lowly
Kansas City Royals
The Yankees trailed, 7-3, entering the ninth and had a man on first with one out when
hit a comebacker to Affeldt that should have been turned into a game-ending double play. But the reliever made a poor throw to second that shortstop
could not handle, and newly acquired
singled to load the bases.
followed with a single to right to make it 7-4 and chase Affeldt. The Royals brought in
(1-3) instead of closer
, whom Royals manager
said had a tired arm.
"Bottom line, I just blew it," Affeldt said. "It was a routine double play."
"That was just poor, execution-wise, attitude-wise, location-wise and position-wise," Bell said. "It just wasn't very good. You got to finish the game."
drove in two runs with a single to left just out of the reach of Berroa and, after
moved pinch runner
to third with a deep flyout to center,
tied the game with a double down the right field line.
Rodriguez fell behind two strikes, then evened the count at 2-2 before lining a slider to left, plating Jeter and giving New York its third straight win.
"I think it's the best (comeback of the season) because we were pretty flat," said Rodriguez, who had been 0-for-3 before the ninth. "When we saw the window of opportunity with the double play, I thought that was a window we can take advantage of and we did."
After Affeldt's error, Yankees manager
had a feeling what was coming next.
"This is a sign," Torre said. "The worst thing you can do if you're Kansas City, the worst thing you can do if you're the Yankees, is give an opponent an extra out. All of a sudden you weren't that far from getting the tying run to the plate."
It was New York's seventh win in nine games and second in its last at-bat this week. On Tuesday, the Yankees won in the bottom of the ninth against Toronto and Saturday's game marked the 16th win when facing at least a three-run deficit.
"We've been playing very agressive baseball, very determined baseball," Torre said. "This game was as good as any game we've played this year as far winning this type of ballgame."
(2-5) tossed 1 1/3 hitless innings for his first win with the Yankees.
Kansas City trailed, 3-0, until the fifth, when it loaded the bases with one out against Yankees starter
- a career .410 hitter with the bases loaded - rapped a two-run double down the left field line, and
followed with a two-run single to left.
Long advanced to third on
's single and scored on a wild pitch to open a 5-3 edge.
In the first, the Royals had gotten the first two batters aboard but could not score against Wright, who was aiming for his third straight win since coming off the disabled list.
New York opened the scoring in the bottom of the first against lefthander J.P. Howell. Jeter drew a leadoff walk and scored on a double by Matsui, who advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by
The Yankees opened a 3-0 cushion in the third when Jeter again drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a single by Matsui and scored when Sheffield grounded into a double play.
After grabbing the lead in the fifth, the Royals opened a 6-3 advantage on an RBI single by Sweeney in the seventh and added another run in the eighth on a run-scoring base hit by
. Both came against Yankees reliever
Before the game, the Yankees acquired outfielder Lawton from the
for minor league pitcher Justin Berg. Lawton went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Lawton, who was a member of several young teams with Minnesota in the late-1990s, said he was not surprised when the Yankees posted the dramatic win.
"I knew it was going to happen," he said. "I've seen it happen so many times. One mistake, that's all it takes."
Howell, who was filling in for the injured
, lasted a career-high six-plus innings, allowing three runs and four hits while changing speeds consistently. The former University of Texas standout was lifted after allowing a leadoff single to
in the seventh.
Wright lasted five innings and was tagged for five runs and seven hits. Wright's struggles marked just the third time in the last 20 games a New York starter had given up more than three earned runs.