Yankees 12, Royals 5

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NEW YORK (AP) – Gary Sheffield homered and drove in four runs, and Shawn Chacon overcame a shaky start to earn his first win of the season in the New York Yankees’ 12-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

Jason Giambi had a pair of RBI doubles, Derek Jeter scored three times and Sheffield finished with three hits as New York tagged Royals starter Jeremy Affeldt (0-1).

The Yankees have scored in double digits three times in eight games this year, plus a 9-7 win over Kansas City in their home opener Tuesday.

Reggie Sanders homered for the second consecutive day for the Royals, who dropped their 13th straight game at Yankee Stadium – a skid that dates to August 2002.

It is New York’s longest home winning streak against any opponent since the Yankees won 19 in a row in the Bronx against the Cleveland Indians from 1960-62.

Chacon (1-1) allowed three runs in the first inning, then settled down. He gave up five runs and seven hits in six-plus innings, striking out five.

Sanders hit a two-run shot in the first, the first time the Royals scored first in seven games this season. Emil Brown added a two-out RBI double, twisting Johnny Damon around in deep center.

Chacon regrouped after that, retiring 11 of his next 12 hitters.

Handed a 3-0 lead, Affeldt walked his first two batters, a cardinal sin that must have left Royals manager Buddy Bell and maybe even his own fielders stewing.

Sheffield smashed a vicious line drive that nearly nailed 60-year-old third base coach Larry Bowa, who quickly dove to the ground in foul territory just in time. Bowa turned to the crowd and shrugged his shoulders as Sheffield smiled from the edge of the batters’ box.

He drove the next pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run homer that tied the score. It was Sheffield’s 451st career homer.

In Affeldt’s previous start against the White Sox, the first five Chicago batters scored.

Alex Rodriguez singled, stole second and scored on Jorge Posada’s two-out single in the third. Sheffield added an RBI single in the fourth, and another run scored on Jimmy Gobble’s wild pitch.

Kansas City cut it to 6-5 in the fifth on consecutive RBI doubles by Mark Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz, but New York got run-scoring singles in the bottom half from Miguel Cairo and Damon.

Giambi’s run-scoring double in the sixth made it 9-5. Jeter had a two-out RBI single in the seventh, a run scored on an error by shortstop Angel Berroa and Giambi delivered another RBI double.

So far, Kansas City’s plan to make Affeldt a starter again isn’t working. The left-hander gave up six runs, seven hits and four walks in 3 1-3 innings, leaving him with a 14.73 ERA after two outings.

New York’s Bernie Williams made his first start in right field since Aug. 6, 1992, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Notes: Royals DH Mike Sweeney sat out after he was hit in the right hand by a pitch from Mariano Rivera on Tuesday. Sweeney is not expected to play until at least Friday night at Tampa Bay. … Yankees LF Hideki Matsui has a career-best 15-game hitting streak dating to last season. … Oddly, Matsui took his cap off just before catching a fly ball to end the second inning, then smiled as he jogged back to the dugout. … Jeter has an 11-game hitting streak dating to last year. … It was Williams’ fourth career start in RF. The other three came in August 1992. … The Yankees have won 21 of 23 against Kansas City at home since the start of the 2000 season.

AP-ES-04-12-06 1629EDT

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