Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Tuesday April 10, 2001
Yankees 8 @ Royals 5

| Back Home | Stats | Pictures | Collectibles | Profile | Moose Watch | News/Highlights |

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The Kansas City Royals are accustomed to blown saves but they could not have envisioned one this bad.

Rookie Michael Coleman homered with one out in the ninth inning to ignite a five-run frame as the New York Yankees defeated the Royals for the fifth time in as many meetings this season, 9-5.

Kansas City closer Roberto Hernandez (0-1) entered the game in the ninth inning with a 5-4 lead and got Tino Martinez to swing and miss at a 1-2 split-finger fastball in the dirt. Coleman then jumped on Hernandez's next offering and sent it over the left-field fence for his first major league homer.

"He's throwing (darn) near 100 miles per hour, so I didn't expect him to let up," Coleman said. "He's a closer, he's going to try to get ahead just like I would do. He is coming with the fastball and if you hit it, you hit it.

"That is something I have been dreaming about. I've thought about hitting the big home run since I came to the big leagues. Guess I don't have to think about it no more."

Coleman made his second straight start in center field in place of Bernie Williams, who flew to Puerto Rico to be with his ill father.

"I thought he was great," said New York manager Joe Torre about Coleman. "It's nice to see him get settled down a bit. He was fired up about his performance. He was excited to hit the home run and it couldn't have come at a better time obviously."

Fellow rookie Alfonso Soriano followed Coleman's homer with a single into right field. Soriano stole second base and went to third when catcher Hector Ortiz's throw bounced into center field. Scott Brosius then sliced a popup down the right-field line that bounced past a diving Jermaine Dye for a triple. With the infield playing in, Chuck Knoblauch hit a ground ball past shortstop Rey Sanchez to score Soriano for a 7-5 lead.

Kansas City continued to crumble as Knoblauch stole second base and one out later scored when Ortiz threw wildly into left field as Knoblauch took third on a wild pitch. Hernandez finally left the game after a single by Paul O'Neill. Rookie Tony Cogan came in and O'Neill stole second base before a single by David Justice made it 9-5.

Cogan, who allowed a three-run homer to Jorge Posada when the Yankees defeated the Royals, 7-3, on Opening Day last week, gave up a base hit to Joe Oliver before Martinez struck out to end the inning.

Ramiro Mendoza (1-0), activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday, worked a perfect eighth inning for his first win since June 24. Mariano Rivera struck out two in a perfect ninth.

Kansas City, which has blown 56 saves over the last two seasons, has been outscored 38-14 in losing all five games to New York this season.

"Every time we play the Yankees I get tired of complimenting them," Kansas City manager Tony Muser said. "You guys ask me the same things all the time. How good are they? I wasn't born yet in 1927, I don't know. They are tremendously talented and very smart. They were in it to win it and they never quit. They're a team."

Hernandez had 32 saves in 40 opportunities with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays last season.

"You have to realize you can never be perfect," Hernandez said. "You can strive for it, but you can never reach it. Unfortunately this is the best day (this season) I've felt throwing the baseball. I felt sharp, I felt good. Oh yeah, I'll be ready (Wednesday) I've done it before."

The Royals trailed 4-1 when Ortiz doubled home Mark Quinn in the fifth inning.

Luis Alicea led off the sixth with a single into left-center and Carlos Beltran reached on an infield hit. One out later, Dye sent Mike Mussina's 0-2 pitch over the left-field fence for his second home run of the season and a 5-4 lead.

"It was a fastball. It was a good feeling," Dye said. "But unfortunately it didn't work out. It was no different. I still felt like we were in it. You take the wins with the losses. That's why we play 162 ballgames."

Kansas City starter Dan Reichert, who allowed only a first-inning solo home run to O'Neill in losing at New York on Thursday, gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings. He threw 92 pitches, walking two and striking out three.

Former Yankee Jason Grimsley replaced Reichert and allowed one hit in two scoreless frames. Grimsley had retired all 19 batters he faced this season when Justice grounded a single in between first and second base with two outs in the eighth.

Coleman, who entered the season with just 29 major league at-bats, staked New York to a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the second inning. Coleman's hit loaded the bases and Reichert nearly worked out of the jam by striking out Soriano and getting Brosius to pop out. But Knoblauch singled up the middle to score Posada and Martinez for a 3-0 lead before Derek Jeter grounded into a forceout.

Quinn had a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 3-1 in the second. The Yankees regained a three-run lead on Coleman's RBI single in the fourth.