By HOWIE RUMBERG AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Alex Rodriguez gave Will Smith a rude welcome to
the major leagues Wednesday night, hitting two homers off the
rookie to back another strong start for Andy Pettitte and lead the
New York Yankees over the Kansas City Royals 8-3.
A-Rod snapped a 52 at-bat homerless drought and drove in three
runs for New York. Curtis Granderson also connected off Smith and
the Yankees scored three times in the fifth with help from some
inept relief pitching.
Derek Jeter had three hits to tie Paul Waner for 15th with
3,152. Before the Jeter singled in the eighth, Waner had been the
only player who reached a higher hits milestone than Jeter in a
Yankees uniform. “Big Poison” got just one hit with New York, his
final one in a career spent mostly in Pittsburgh.
New York scored as many as three runs in the first inning for
the first time in 31 games since April 19 and finished a 3-3
homestand. The Yankees start a 10-game trip at Oakland on Friday
following their first consecutive wins since three in a row from
Pettitte (2-1) followed eight innings of four-hit ball against
Cincinnati with seven-plus crafty innings in his third start since
coming out of retirement, leaving him with a 2.53 ERA. He gave
Smith a lesson in mixing pitches and working out of difficult
In the third inning, Mark Teixeira started a double play with a
diving stop. Pettitte got out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth
with a strikeout _ one of his eight Ks _ giving a slight fist pump
walking off the mound.
Pettitte gave up seven hits, including homers to Billy Butler
and Mitch Maier. The 39-year-old left-hander has not lost to Kansas
City since 1999. In 24 starts against the Royals, he is 14-3.
Smith (0-1), a 22-year old called up from Triple-A Omaha on
Tuesday _ not the actor with a movie coming out this weekend _
started off with an out for the scrapbook: He got Jeter to hit a
grounder to shortstop. But it was rocky the rest of the first for
the lefty who was 2 months shy of 6 when Pettitte made his debut in
Granderson homered to deep right on a 1-2 pitch. TV showed
Smith’s mom in the stands shaking her head: welcome to the big
leagues, son. After a walk to Teixeira, A-Rod crushed a ball into
the left field stands for a 3-0 lead.
By the time Nick Swisher hit a pop up with two outs, Smith’s mom
couldn’t watch: she had covered her face with her hands. It was an
When Rodriguez homered in the third to center field, mom sat
stunned with her hands behind her head.
Rodriguez said following Tuesday’s game that he was “about to
go off” _ and he did. Rodriguez had just one RBI since he last
homered and drove in three runs on May 6 at Kansas City, 15 games
ago. It was Rodriguez’s 60th multihomer game.
Smith was lifted after giving up a one-out single in the fourth.
He yielded five runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings. Luis Mendoza,
the pitcher originally slated to start Wednesday night, relieved.
Rodriguez came up in the fifth with the bases loaded and
grounded into a fielder’s choice. Jeter, who bunted for a hit, was
forced out at home.
The Yankees came in 8 for 41 (.195) with the bases loaded but
they didn’t need a hit in that situation in the fifth to score
their runs. The Yankees walked three times and were twice hit by
pitches in the inning. Robinson Cano had an RBI fielder’s choice _
a nice diving stop by shortstop Alcides Escobar _ and Andruw Jones
and Teixeira, back in the 3-hole after two games batting seventh,
walked to force in runs.
New York went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position, leaving
the Yankees 9 for 85 (.106) in their last nine games,
Eric Hosmer went 3 for 4 with an RBI to raise his average to
NOTES: The Royals dropped to 4-3 in the deciding game of series
this season. … Both teams have a day off Thursday. On Friday,
Kansas City’s Bruce Chen faces the Orioles’ Jason Hammel in
Baltimore. Ivan Nova goes for New York against Tyson Ross for
Oakland. … Smith was 1-3, 4.01 at Omaha this season.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)