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Reichert Blanks Yankees

Against Dan Reichert, the New York Yankees looked like a last-place team, not the World Series champions.

"Shutting out the Yankees for seven innings, it doesn't get any better than that," the 23-year-old rookie said after leading the Kansas City Royals over the suddenly punchless Yankees 3-0 Wednesday night.

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  • For the third straight night, the Yankees were in a scoreless tie after six innings. New York has just 12 runs in five games since routing Minnesota 14-2 last Friday.

    "You could put a tee out there and I wouldn't get a hit," said Derek Jeter, who actually got one of New York's six singles.

    Before Paul O'Neill's fourth-inning single ended his 0-for-9 skid, he had combined with Chili Davis, Scott Brosius and Joe Girardi to go 0-for-58.

    "We hit a little lull swinging the bats right now," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I hate to say that because you hate to take anything away from the pitcher."

    Reichert (2-1), making his seventh career start, had never allowed fewer than four runs in a game. After getting out of two-on, no-outs jam in the first, he seemed to get stronger.

    "I guess that's just typical me. Walk the first guy or maybe the first two guys and then settle down," Reichert said. "I found that groove in the middle of the game and then got better and better. I finally found that consistent release point."

    Reichert limited the World Series champions to four hits, truck out three and walked one in the longest start of his brief major league career.

    "When I was doing my sprints early, I looked around and said, `It's hard to believe that I'm pitching in Yankee Stadium,"' he said. "You try not to get caught up in that because it gets you away from the game plan."

    He was the Royals' top pick in the 1997 amateur draft, but struggled before finding out in 1998 he was diabetic.

    "When I was in the minors last year, my velocity kept dropping," he said. "I was down to 84 miles an hour on my fastball. They thought it was the Texas heat getting to me but it turned out I was sick."

    Now he takes insulin shots three times a day, and his velocity has returned.

    "It's just like brushing your teeth every day. You test your blood sugar and adjust your shots accordingly," Reichert said.

    Kansas City, which had lost 15 of its last 17 games against the Yankees, got only its second shutout of the season and won for just the second time in its last eight games overall. The Royals stopped an eight-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium.

    Rey Sanchez scored the go-ahead run on Derek Jeter's eighth-inning throwing error, the Royals added a pair of runs in the ninth and Jeff Montgomery got three outs for his sixth save in 11 chances, his first since June 8 against St. Louis. With two on, he retired pinch-hitter Bernie Williams on a grounder to end it.

    New York, which has the best record in baseball at 73-46, had averaged 5.6 runs in its first 114 games, but Brosius is hitless in 24 at-bats, Girardi in 17 and Davis in 13. O'Neill singled twice and grounded out after hitting into a double-play with two on and none out in the first.

    New York lost for only the fourth time in its last 14 games and was blanked for just the fifth time this season.

    "We're just not getting any hits," Jeter said. "We're not swinging the bats well. We should be able to find some wins and score some runs."

    Andy Pettitte (10-9), who had won three straight starts for the first time since going 4-0 from June 27-July 14, 1998, allowed seven hits in eight innings, struck out seven and walked two but was done in by fielding.

    Still, Pettitte has lowered his ERA from 5.65 to 4.52 in his last four starts, giving up two earned runs in 31 innings.

    "Obviously I feel good," Pettitte said. "Tonight was a little bit more of a battle. I didn't feel quite as good as I did in my past three starts."

    Sanchez singled with one out in the eighh and advanced on Carlos Beltran's walk. Mike Sweeney then hit a grounder to first baseman Tino Martinez, who threw to second for the force, but Jeter's return throw was behind Pettitte, who let it bounce away as Sweeney advanced.

    "I was acting like an idiot and just got caught up in the game," said Pettitte, who at first didn't go away the ball.

    New York put runners on first and second in the eighth against reliever Derek Wallace. But Eric Cooper, among the 25 newly hired umpires, called Chuck Knoblauch and Jeter out on strikes.

    "The ball was anywhere from 6, 8 to 10 inches inside," said Torre, who disagreed with both calls.


  • Williams didn't start because of an upset stomach. He did not play Tuesday's game.
  • The Royals' other shutout was 7-0 over Anaheim on Aug. 3. .. Ramiro Mendoza walked his first two batters in the ninth, Carlos Febles singled in a run off Mike Stanton and Johnny Damon followed with a sacrifice fly.

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