Yankees 6, Royals 5

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NEW YORK (AP) – Johnny Damon hit a leadoff home run and Alex Rodriguez had a two-run single to highlight a five-run first inning, and the New York Yankees held off Kansas City 6-5 Sunday.

The Yankees seemed to have their fourth victory in five games wrapped up before the Royals came back by scoring one run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and two in the seventh.

Reggie Sanders doubled in Doug Mientkiewicz to make it 6-4 in the seventh and chase New York reliever Scott Proctor. Two batters later, Emil Brown drove in Sanders with a single that made it 6-5.

Kyle Farnsworth got the last out of the inning to end the threat and then retired the side in the eighth. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 12 chances.

The Yankees wasted no time getting to Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez (1-4). Damon drove a 2-1 pitch into the right-field stands to put the Yankees up 1-0. It was Damon’s sixth homer of the season. Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield followed with singles and Jason Giambi made it 2-0 with a double to right.

Rodriguez – coming off a two-homer, three-RBI performance in Saturday’s 15-4 victory – followed with a bloop single over first base that scored Sheffield and Giambi.

Three batters later, Hernandez was gone after getting just two outs and the Yankees were seemingly in control.

After Robinson Cano drove in Jeter with a sacrifice fly in the second, the Yankees were done scoring. They didn’t even have a hit after Damon singled in the third. The last 15 New York batters were retired in order.

New York starter Jaret Wright (3-3), who tweaked his groin in a win Tuesday over Boston, was solid through five innings. He left after Tony Graffanino doubled to put runners on second and third with one out in the sixth.

Wright gave up three runs on nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Notes: In the last 11 games, Kansas City starters are 1-8 with an 8.94 ERA. … The Royals missed an opportunity to win their first road series of the season. They haven’t won a series on the road since Aug. 19-21, 2005 against Oakland. … There was an announced crowd of 54,372, the sixth sellout this season at Yankee Stadium. … New York LF Melky Cabrera, who has had his adventures on defense, was a busy man. He had six putouts, and also slipped near the warning track on two separate occasions when fielding base hits.

AP-ES-05-28-06 1605EDT

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