Yanks Spank Royals

By: JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer
By: JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Melky Cabrera put one into the seats -- behind the dugout, that is. Yep, the New York Yankees are doing just fine without any homer help from Alex Rodriguez.

Cabrera hit a bizarre two-run double and Robinson Cano homered, leading Chien-Ming Wang and the Yankees over the Kansas City Royals 7-1 Friday night.

Cabrera matched a season high with three hits and Cano went 2-for-3 to increase his average over the last 20 games to .462 with five homers and 20 RBIs.

"It's the energy level, too," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "They give us a great deal of energy."

Rodriguez went 1-for-3 and remained at 499 career homers. He hasn't homered in 28 at-bats since July 25 against Kansas City -- New York has scored 49 runs in its last five games anyway.

Rodriguez bounced out to shortstop in the first, lined a double to left-center field in the third and walked in the fifth as the crowd showered Kansas City starter Odalis Perez with boos. There were the usual bright flashes of light with each at-bat, and fans gasped at every swing.

He came up with the bases loaded in the sixth and lofted a high fly ball that was met with loud cheers before Mark Teahen settled under it in the grass in medium right. The sacrifice fly gave New York a 6-1 lead.

"He's there," Torre said. "I'm fine because the home run is going to come now. Instead of let's wait for it, it's just going to come by nature of the fact that he's playing the game of baseball as opposed to just trying to hit a home run."

Kansas City made two errors in the eighth, allowing Rodriguez to get another at-bat. With lightning beginning to increase in frequency over the Bronx, he flied out on Ryan Braun's first pitch.

Rodriguez saw the scene developing and immediately thought of "The Natural," the movie that features Roy Hobbs -- played by Robert Redford -- hitting a ball into the light tower.

"I was looking for my 'Wonderboy' bat but couldn't find it. Flew out a little short," Rodriguez said. "But that was a perfect setting to end a kind of dramatic week."

The Yankees led 3-1 in the sixth when Cabrera came up with the bases loaded and one out. He hit a liner off Braun's left foot, and the pitcher frantically looked around before realizing the ball was sailing over the Yankees' first-base dugout.

"Oooh. Unbelievable," Cabrera said with a grin.

Braun stayed in and was charged with three runs and four hits over three innings.

"I have never seen it before," Royals manager Buddy Bell said of the double. "He's lucky he didn't get hurt."

Ross Gload's two-out RBI single in the third was all Kansas City could manage against Wang (13-5), who allowed seven hits in seven-plus innings to win his third straight game. Wang is 10-1 in his last 13 starts.

"He knows we're pretty aggressive," Gload said. "He was throwing off speed early on and then putting guys away with those sinkers."

Johnny Damon went 2-for-4 and scored two runs for New York, which improved to 16-7 since the All-Star break.

Damon's RBI double off Perez (6-10) gave New York a 3-1 lead in the fourth.

Notes

2B Mark Grudzielanek's fifth-inning walk was Kansas City's first free pass since Sunday. It was the first time the Royals had gone three consecutive games without a walk since they went four straight from Sept. 1-4, 1992. ... RHP Kyle Davies will make his Royals debut Saturday against the Yankees. Kansas City acquired Davies from Atlanta for reliever Octavio Dotel on Tuesday. "I'm anxious to see him," Bell said. "Heard a lot of great things about him." ... Yankees RHP Phil Hughes will be reinstated from the disabled list so he can start Saturday's game. ... Yankees catcher Jorge Posada didn't play because of a bruised left knee. ... Rocker Jon Bon Jovi was on the field before the game.


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