Derek Jeter got things started for the Yankees with a single in the bottom of the first. Mark Teixeira hit a big double to left and Rodriguez followed with a fly ball that just stayed fair, before bouncing into the stands for a RBI ground-rule double. The Yankees had fought back and the score was tied at 2-2.
Things did not get much better for Sabathia at the start of the second inning. He gave up back-to-back singles to Mike Aviles and Willie Bloomquist. A single up the middle by Podsednik gave the Royals a 3-2 lead.
Sabathia seemed to get into a groove in the third, sitting the Royals down in order. Jeter lead off the bottom of the third with a deep fly ball that David DeJesus appeared to catch right before the wall, however, his glove hand hit the wall and he appeared to twist his wrist as the ball popped out and Jeter hustled around the bases for what was deemed an inside-the-park homer, tying the score at 3-3. The Yankees loaded the bases, but were unable to capitalize.
The Royals threatened in the fifth as Butler singled with two outs. Guillen worked a walk and Betemit connected with a liner into left. Gardner fielded the ball and gunned it to home, beating Butler to the plate and getting the Yankees out of the inning. Robinson Cano got the Yankees started in the bottom of the fifth, singling to right field. A big double down the third baseline from Jorge Posada had Cano score from first, giving the Yankees their first lead of the game. Posada moved to third on a wild pitch and tagged up and scored when Marcus Thames hit a deep fly ball.
The Royals got one run back when Bloomquist doubled in the top of the sixth. He moved to third on a balk by Sabathia who then struck out Yuniesky Betancourt. Posada, however, did not catch the ball and Betancourt ran to first. Instead of getting the easy out at first, Posada decided to try to pick off Bloomquist at third, but made a horrendous throw, allowing him to score and Betancourt to get to second on a strikeout. The Yankees lead was now 5-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, Rodriguez connected with homer number 599, as he parked one in the right field stands and gave the Bombers a 6-4 lead. Joba Chamberlain came in for the top of the eighth and got into some trouble when Podsednik and Kendall both reached on infield singles. Chamberlain struck out Rick Ankiel, but Podsednik and Kendall both stole, though Posada actually made a nice throw to third and appeared to get Podsednik. Butler walked to load the bases, but Chamberlain got Guillen to ground into a force out to end the inning and get out of trouble.
Thames lead off the bottom of the inning with a single, being replaced by pinch runner Colin Curtis. Granderson bunted him over to second. Gardner walked and Swisher cleared the bases with a big double. Teixeira singled to right, scoring Swisher and getting Yankee Stadium buzzing as Rodriguez came to the plate. He didn’t hit number 600, but he lined a nice RBI double to center, putting the Yankees up 10-4. Chan Ho Park finished the game for the Yankees, holding the Royals to one hit in the ninth.
Jorge Posada: Obviously, he made good offensive plays when the Yankees took the lead, but Posada’s defense is starting to wear on me. His bone-headed play on Betancourt’s strikeout was infuriating, particularly for a veteran player. Posada also actually failed to tag Butler in the fifth inning, despite having plenty of time to do so thanks to a phenomenal throw by Gardy. They got the call, but those kinds of lazy plays frustrate me to no end. He did get robbed on the call at third in seventh, however.
Brett Gardner: Gardner was the only Yankee starter to not pick up a hit, going 0-3. He did work a walk and score a run however. He did make some great defensive plays. He’s really only on this list to keep Posada company.
Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod went 3-5 with a run scored and four RBIs. He hit a homerun and two doubles. The big news is that he is now just one homer away from 600, meaning that is all we will hear about until he hits it. As Jason has noted, however, A-Rod’s perspective seems to have changed, as evidenced by his comments on the milestone. “I have a different perspective on things. Early in my career I loved winning and I loved to win, but it was about accumulating numbers and hoping you got to the postseason. Now it’s just about one goal, and along the way you hope to get big home runs and drive in runs to help us win.”
Mark Teixeira: The Yankees showed how dangerous they can be when Teix and A-Rod are both hitting. Teix also went 3-5, scoring two runs and hitting a RBI.
Nick Swisher: Swish went 2-5 with a run scored and two RBIs. Of course, he had an ugly play in the outfield, but who does that surprise?
Brett Gardner: It’s only fair that I put him on this list too, as he had a couple really key defensive plays when the game was still close. His throw to get Butler at home was about as perfect as you can get and his heads up play to second earlier in the game saved a run for the Yankees.
In the On Deck Circle:
Game two of this series will have Brian Bannister throwing against A.J. Burnett. The righty is 7-8 with a 5.65 ERA for the season (his FIP is not much better at 5.53) and he has had very little success against the Yankees, many of whom have hit him pretty hard. Bannister struggles against right handed batters, who are hitting .320 against him. Burnett needs to bounce back from a pathetic outing where he only lasted two innings due to him cutting his hand as he hit a door out of frustration. Before then it looked like Burnett was getting back on track, going 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in July. First pitch is at 7:05pm.