Archive for Thursday, August 15, 2002

New York overcomes Sweeney’s steal - Yankees 3, Royals 2, 14 innings

August 15, 2002

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— Bernie Williams hit an RBI single in the 14th inning as the New York Yankees overcame Mike Sweeney's straight steal of home to beat the Kansas City Royals, 3-2, Wednesday night.

Alfonso Soriano singled with one out in the 14th off Blake Stein (0-3) and moved to third on Jason Giambi's two-out single. Williams followed with a single to right field as the Yankees won for the 16th time in their final at-bat.

Ramiro Mendoza (8-3) allowed one hit in three innings for the win and Mariano Rivera coaxed three outs for his 26th save in 30 opportunities.

Sweeney, known more his bat than his speed, had the most exciting play of the game when he stole home with two outs in the sixth to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.

Carlos Beltran and Sweeney led off the sixth with doubles off Andy Pettitte to tie the score at 1. Joe Randa's sacrifice bunt moved Sweeney to third.

With two outs and a 1-2 count on lefty Aaron Guiel, Sweeney surprised the left-handed Pettitte, who was holding the ball on the mound, by taking off and sliding in ahead of the throw home.

It was only Sweeney's fifth steal of the season and 35th of his career. He became the fifth Royal to have a straight steal of home and first since Freddie Patek on June 18, 1977, against Minnesota. The only other Kansas City players to do it were George Brett, Amos Otis and Dave Nelson.

It was the second time this season the Yankees have allowed a straight steal of home. The Mets' Roger Cedeno did it against Ted Lilly on June 29.

The Yankees took advantage of shortstop Neifi Perez's 15th error to tie the score in the seventh. With one out, Raul Mondesi singled and Rondell White hit a grounder to Perez, who bounced a throw past Kit Pellow at first base. Mondesi went to third on the throwing error and scored on Shane Spencer's sacrifice fly.

Royals starter Paul Byrd, going for his 15th victory, held the Yankees to one unearned run over nine innings to lower his ERA to 3.45. Byrd allowed eight hits and no walks.

Pettitte, who had won his previous three starts, allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings.

Mike Stanton, Steve Karsay, Mendoza and Rivera combined on six scoreless innings of relief.

Giambi hit his 29th homer in the first inning to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Kansas City had baserunners in each of the first four innings but couldn't score against Pettitte.

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