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Archive for Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Yankees clip Royals again, 9-5

April 11, 2001

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— Michael Coleman took over for Bernie Williams and hit just like the absent All-Star.

The rookie hit his first major league homer, triggering a five-run rally in the ninth inning that lifted the New York Yankees over the Kansas City Royals, 9-5, Tuesday night.

Coleman, subbing for Williams while the center fielder tends to his ailing father in Puerto Rico, had three hits and drove in three runs.

In his first game Monday night, Coleman had two hits and drove in one run as the Yankees won, 13-4.

"This is an opportunity," Coleman said. "I'm keeping it warm for Bernie until he gets back. We've got people here to fill in."

The Yankees, who have beaten the Royals five straight times this season, erupted against Roberto Hernandez (0-1), who was handed a 5-4 lead starting the ninth.

"It's nice to have that kind of depth," said New York manager Joe Torre. "He can play all three outfield positions. He's impressed me."

The Yankees have beaten the Royals 27 times in their last 34 meetings.

"Every time we play the Yankees, I get tired of complimenting them," Royals manager Tony Muser said. "They are a very, very, very good baseball team. I've been asked how great are they. I wasn't alive in 1927, so it's hard for me to compare them in history."

The Royals, whose bullpen blew 56 save chances in the past two years, are counting on Hernandez, who was acquired from Tampa Bay, to turn a weakness into a strength.

"I tried to get ahead of Coleman," said Hernandez, who has blown one save and converted one with the Royals.

"You have to tip your hat to him. I threw him my best pitch and he just happened to hit it out of the ballpark. With that team, once they see a little crack they're going to try to break the door down."

After Hernandez struck out Tino Martinez, the Yankees batted around in the ninth and made Ramiro Mendoza (1-0) a winner just a few hours after being activated from the disabled list.

Mendoza pitched a flawless eighth inning and got the victory in his first appearance in the majors since last July. He had surgery on his right shoulder on Sept. 21.

Coleman was acquired from Cincinnati in spring training as a throw-in in the trade for Drew Henson.

"I try to play good defense. Whatever I do offensively is a bonus," he said.

After Coleman tied it at 5, Alfonso Soriano followed with a single, stole second and continued to third on catcher Hector Ortiz's throwing error.

Scott Brosius hit a go-ahead triple and scored on Chuck Knoblauch's single for a 7-5 lead. Knoblauch eventually scored on another error by Ortiz, and David Justice hit an RBI single for his fourth hit.

Martinez ended the inning with another strikeout.

Jermaine Dye's three-run homer in the sixth off Mike Mussina put the Royals ahead 5-4.

Dye, who also doubled and scored in the second, has a career .435 average against Mussina.

Jason Grimsley replaced starter Dan Reichert in the seventh and struck out four in two innings. Grimsley had retired 19 consecutive batters to start the season before Justice's two-out single in the eighth.

Mussina, who held the Royals to five hits in 7 2-3 shutout innings in a victory Thursday, struck out eight in the first four innings.

Knoblauch delivered a two-run single with two outs in the third. Mark Quinn had an RBI single for the Royals in the second.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who entered the game leading the league with 14 RBIs and tied for second with four home runs, left with stiffness in his lower back in the third.

Notes: 2B Luis Alicea started instead of Carlos Febles, who is hitting .200 and has struck out five times in 20 at-bats. Alicea broke an 0-for-14 slump with a sixth-inning single, his first hit for the Royals. ... Quinn extended his hitting streak to seven games. ... Mussina finished with nine strikeouts.

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