Royals rip apart Yankees, 7-0

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Alex Gordon homered, tripled and doubled, and Tony Pena Jr. and Mark Grudzielanek also tripled for Kansas City, which had lost the first three games of the four-game series.

New York went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position – hot-hitting Hideki Matsui stranded runners at second and third when he hit an inning-ending popup in the first, then left the bases loaded when he grounded out to end the fifth.

A day before his 32nd birthday, Rodriguez faced De La Rosa, who gave up his 400th home run on May 8, 2005 while pitching for Milwaukee. A-Rod drew an intentional walk in the first, flied out leading off the fourth and was hit by a pitch in the fifth, then grounded against Zack Greinke in the eighth.

On Friday, Rodriguez will be on deck when the Yankees resume a suspended game against the Orioles in the eighth inning. If he homers in the completion of the suspended game, it would count as being hit on June 28, when the contest began. That would make be home run No. 493 – and his homer off Gil Meche on Wednesday night would become No. 500.

A-Rod would surpass Jimmie Foxx (32 years, 338 days) as the youngest player to reach 500 homers and would be the 22nd to reach the mark.

New York, which lost for only the third time in 14 games, dropped 71/2 games back of AL East-leading Boston but remained 41/2 games behind Cleveland, the AL wild-card leader. And after getting 84 hits in their five previous games, the Yankees were held to six.

De La Rosa (8-10) won for the first time in three starts since July 8, allowing six hits and two walks in 5 1-3 innings with five strikeouts.

Six of the Royals’ seven extra-base hits came against Igawa (2-3), the Yankees’ $46 million bust. He gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings, his ERA rising to 6.79. Igawa is winless since April 28, and with New York off on Monday – and able to skip Igawa’s next turn in the rotation – it appears likely he will be sent back to the minors soon and replaced by 21-year-old rookie Phil Hughes, who has been impressive during a rehab assignment.

Kansas City went up 4-0 with four hits – all for extra bases – in the second inning.

With one out, Gordon doubled and scored on Pena’s triple. After Esteban German walked with two outs, David DeJesus doubled to make it 3-0 and scored on Grudzielanek’s triple.

It was the Royals’ first inning with two three-base hits since Sept. 14, 2005, when Angel Berroa and Andres Blanco tripled in the sixth inning off Freddy Garcia of the Chicago White Sox.

Kansas City made it 5-0 in the sixth, when Gordon tripled with two outs and scored on Pena’s double that chased Igawa. Billy Butler hit an RBI double off Sean Henn.

The Royals’ previous three-triple game was June 7, 2005 at San Francisco.

Notes: C Jose Molina, acquired from the Angels on Saturday, was 2-for-4 in his Yankees debut. He doubled and singled in his first two at-bats, then grounded into an inning-ending double play in the sixth. … New York has played four four-game series since the All-Star break and has gone 3-1 in all four. … DeJesus was hit twice by pitches, one from Igawa and one from Henn. The Royals have been hit by pitch 61 times this season, most in the majors. … It was the sixth time the Yankees were shut out, the first since June 30 against Oakland. Kansas City’s only other shutout win was 1-0 at the Angels on June 27. … Pena’s eighth-inning walk was his first since May 5, ending a string of 244 plate appearances without one.

AP-ES-07-26-07 2334EDT

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