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Hernandez Shuts Down Royals

Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter both put themselves back in the picture.

After rankling manager Joe Torre by missing the team photo session, Posada and Jeter each hit RBI singles in a four-run seventh inning that led Orlando Hernandez and the New York Yankees over Kansas City 5-2 Tuesday night.

It was Posada's 28th birthday, and he spent the afternoon at home with Jeter enjoying a spaghetti lunch. They forgot about the picture, however, and arrived too late at Yankee Stadium to be included.

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  • Torre hinted the two players would be fined for their absence. Jeter and Posada, by the way, will be added to the photo by computer.

    "It seems like I never get a hit on my birthday," Posada said. "It was nice to get one today. It all worked out."

    Hernandez (13-7) and Jose Rosado (7-10) were locked in a scoreless game when Jim Leyritz opened the seventh with his first triple since 1990. Tino Martinez, who later replaced Leyritz, homered in the eighth.

    In improving to 73-45, the Yankees again moved past Cleveland for the best record in the majors. New York now has won the opener in each of its last 10 series.

    "We've been playing well," Torre said. "This is the longest stretch we've played this way in awhile."

    Kansas City has lost 10 of 12. The Royals also have dropped 15 of their last 17 against New York.

    "It was a tough game to lose," Rosado said. "You make some good pitches and it doesn't go right for you."

    Hernandez, hit hard by the Royals in a loss May 3blanked them on four hits through seven innings. Carlos Febles tripled and scored on a single by Johnny Damon to start the eighth, and reliever Jeff Nelson allowed an RBI single to Mike Sweeney.

    Hernandez surpassed his 12 victories last season as a rookie. Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 34th save.

    Like the previous day, when they managed just one hit for seven innings against Minnesota's Eric Milton in a 2-0 victory, the Yankees were stymied by a left-hander.

    "We had a dress rehearsal yesterday for this kind of game," Torre said.

    Leyritz's double was New York's lone hit off Rosado through the sixth. Leyritz then opened the seventh with a drive into the left-center field gap.

    Damon backhanded the ball on the warning track, but it popped out. Damon stumbled into the wall and fell down, and center fielder Carlos Beltran rushed over to make the relay as Leyritz hustled with a head-first slide for his second triple in 2,365 career at-bats.

    "That's the only way I'm going to get a triple," Leyritz said. "I think it's 2,500 or 2,600 at-bats since my last one. I was just trying to catch my breath. I told the guys I needed some oxygen."

    Posada followed with a single for a 1-0 lead and Shane Spencer doubled, finishing Rosado. Scott Service got two outs before Chuck Knoblauch delivered a two-run single and Jeter hit an RBI single.


  • Yankees CF Bernie Williams, in an 0-for-8 skid, was scratched from the starting lineup because of an upset stomach.
  • New York was minus coaches Don Zimmer and Chris Chambliss. Zimmer left to attend former teammate Pee Wee Reese's funeral in Louisville, Ky., and Chambliss is recovering from a urinary tract infection.
  • Rumors continue to circulate that Yankees OF Chad Curtis might be traded to Oakland. The Athletics are looking to replace Tony Phillips, out for the season with a broken leg.
  • Rosado earned his first major league victory at Yankee Stadium on July 25, 1996, with 7 2-3 scoreless innings.
  • Scott Brosius was hitless in two at-bats, leaving him in an 0-for-21 slump.
  • Yankees pitchers had thrown 18 straight shutout innings before the Royals scored.
  • Leyritz's other triple came as a rookie with the Yankees.
  • Damon stole his 26th base, tying a career best.

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