Royals Can't Find Answer For A-Rod

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- There's just no stopping A-Rod.

Alex Rodriguez homered for the fifth straight game, connecting for the seventh time during that span and sending the New York Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.

Chien-Ming Wang earned his 18th win to remain tied for the major league lead, and Jorge Posada hit a tiebreaking, two-run double that helped New York extend its AL wild-card lead to four games over Detroit.

Playing without Derek Jeter, held out with a sore knee, the Yankees stayed 5 1/2 games back of first-place Boston in the AL East. The Red Sox beat Baltimore 3-2 behind Josh Beckett, who also has 18 wins.

Wang (18-6) gave up a three-run double to rookie Alex Gordon but went seven innings to win his fifth start in a row. Against the Royals, the right-hander is 4-0 in six career starts.

Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 25th save in 28 chances.

The Yankees, with Rodriguez on a home run tear that's helped him move past several Hall of Famers on various career lists, have won five straight and 23 of 35 to reach a season-high 19 games over .500. New York went 8-1 against Kansas City this season.

A-Rod's two-run shot off Zack Greinke in the first inning was his major league-leading 52nd homer and it raised his RBI count to 140, also best in the big leagues. It's the third time in his brilliant 13-year career that he's homered in five consecutive games.

With 516 home runs, he is five behind Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 15th place on the career list.

Rodriguez came up with two outs and two on in the second, but this round went to Greinke when the right-hander struck him out on three pitches. Rodriguez wound up 2-for-5 with a single and three strikeouts.

Brandon Duckworth (2-5) pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief and took the loss.

After the Royals tied it 3-all on Gordon's bases-loaded double in the fourth, Rodriguez singled in the fifth and Hideki Matsui walked before Posada brought them both in with a double on the first pitch he saw from John Bale.

Bale then struck out six of his next eight batters. He fanned Bobby Abreu, Rodriguez and Matsui on 11 pitches in the seventh.

Wang gave up five hits, walking four and striking out four. The right-hander, whose 37 wins in 61 starts since the beginning of the 2006 season leads the majors, threw as many pitches in the fourth (25) as he'd thrown in the first three innings combined.

Even with a day off last Thursday and another one coming Monday, the Yankees kept Wang on his regular four days' rest so the sinkerballer would pitch on the grass in Kansas City instead of the artificial turf in Toronto.

Wilson Betemit had an RBI double for the Yankees in the second and Robinson Cano singled home their sixth run in the eighth.

Greinke, who had not allowed a run in his last 10 outings covering 19 innings, threw 3 2-3 innings and was lifted after Johnny Damon's infield single in the fourth. He was charged with three runs and six hits.

Notes

The Yankees recalled LHPs Sean Henn and Kei Igawa and RHPs Matt DeSalvo and Jeff Karstens from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. They also called up OF Bronson Sardinha and purchased the contract of right-hander Ross Ohlendorf. ... The Yankees moved INF Andy Phillips from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. ... Greinke threw 90 pitches, 51 for strikes. ... Bale's seven strikeouts were the most by a Royals reliever this season.


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