"Every team we play is going to get up for us," Derek Jeter said.
"Everyone wants to show us they can play. We've got to come ready."
The Yankees, though, didn't come ready. They scored just two runs
during the series finale and collected seven hits. Their starting
pitcher, Carl Pavano, struggled through 5 1/3 innings and picked up his
second straight loss. When they actually managed a threat during the
ninth inning they wound up leaving the bases loaded, the go-ahead run
standing on first.
The evening didn't always look so dismal. The Yankees actually grabbed
an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Tony Womack, back in the
lineup, walked, advanced to third on Gary Sheffield's double and came
around to score when Hideki Matsui drove a sacrifice fly to center
field. Pavano, meanwhile, retired the first eight Royals on
all of 24 pitches. That was when the trouble began.
Pavano gave up a two-out single, then a run-scoring double. Like that,
the lead was gone. So, too, were Pavano's most effective innings.
During the fourth, the right-hander gave up a single, a double and
another single, and trailed, all of a sudden, 3-1. The next inning, the
Yankees drew to within one run after Jorge Posada singled, advanced to
second on a fielding error and scored on Jeter's single.
They could have scored more runs, though, had Bernie Williams not been tagged out at second after he tried to tag up on a Robinson Cano flyout to center field. Williams sprinted in to the bag, but wound up as the second out of an 8-4 double play.
"I was just taking a gamble," Williams said. "It's a great play if you
make it, it's a terrible play if you don't."
It was terrible and, according to manager Joe Torre, bad baserunning.
"It's under the category of things you shouldn't do and, unfortunately,
we've committed too many [of those things]," Torre said. "They're
certainly magnified when you lose a ballgame."
The runs that ensured the Yankees loss came during the sixth when Pavano gave up back-to-back home runs to Matt Stairs and Terrence Long,
who had entered the game having hit just six homers between them.
Pavano faced two more batters before exiting after 5 1/3 largely
ineffective innings. He gave up five runs and nine hits, and struck out
two. And after retiring those first eight hitters, the Royals batted
9-for-17 against him.
"I don't know if frustrated is the word," Pavano said. "The [Yankees]
definitely needed a solid outing from me to win this game and avoid a
sweep and I didn't pitch well at all. My job was to go out there and
help the team and I didn't.
"I felt like I was aggressive the whole game, but there was no rhyme or
reason. The [Royals] just took advantage of some pitches over the plate
and ran with it. They did that the whole series, they took advantage of
"They pitched us tough all series," Alex Rodriguez said. "They pretty
much played every facet of the game better than us. That's why they
have three wins and we have three losses."
The result of the Yankees' midweek blunders: a five-game losing
streak, their first in more than two years, and a 27-26 record. They
only remained five games back of the division-leading Orioles by virtue
of Baltimore's loss on Thursday at Boston.
Can anything good come of being swept out of town by the Royals? Well,
consider that baseball's worst team swept the Yankees in 1937 and 2000.
Then remember that the Bronx Bombers went on to win the World Series
during both of those seasons. The Yankees are a far cry from that point
right now, but maybe, just maybe, history will smile on them.