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Yanks Flush Royals, Lose Cone

David Cone
AP
Even the opposition loves David Cone in his hometown.

Just listen to Kansas City Royals outfielder Johnny Damon, a front-row witness Tuesday night to what Cone at first feared would be a career-ending injury.

"We have to pray for him, for a speedy recovery," Damon said after the New York Yankees right-hander separated his left shoulder while diving to catch a bunt in the third inning of a 10-5 win over the Royals. "He had no chance on that play, but David Cone trying to make that diving catch is just one of the reasons why their pitchers are so good defensively."

Cone, a Kansas City native who entered the majors with the Royals and won the 1994 AL Cy Young Award during his second stint with them, landed wrong while fielding Rey Sanchez's bunt with Damon on second.

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  • With friends and family watching from the stands, he rolled on the field in agony.

    "For about 15 minutes, I was pretty miserable," Cone said. "I felt like my shoulder was in my neck. It was scary, very painful."

    After having the shoulder popped back in, and after an X-ray didn't show any damage, Cone was already speculating about a possible return to the Yankees' lineup. He was scheduled for an MRI exam on Wednesday.

    "Maybe I can still come back," he said. "Maybe there's a chance I can still get something done this year. I really can't tell at this point."

    ScotBrosius hit an eighth-inning grand slam and No. 9 hitter Jose Vizcaino went 4-for-5 as the Yankees maintained their six-game lead over second-place Boston in the AL East despite having a player go down with an injury for the second time in two games.

    On Monday, center fielder Bernie Williams aggravated a previous rib strain in the first inning of a 4-3 win over the Royals. He's expected to miss 4-6 games.

    Cone went down too early in Tuesday's game to get the win, but reliever Dwight Gooden (6-4) never lost the Yankees' early lead.

    He replaced Cone immediately after the injury and pitched through the eighth, giving up three runs two earned on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout.

    "He gave us length. That was big," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Those five-plus innings were so huge, especially with David going down early."

    Mike Stanton pitched the ninth, giving up Mike Sweeney's sacrifice fly.

    The game was tight throughout, until Brosius' drive off reliever Andy Larkin splashed into the fountains beyond left field and made it 10-4.

    "He's scuffling," Royals manager Tony Muser said of Larkin. "He's got a good sinker that sometimes doesn't sink, and he's got a good breaking ball that sometimes breaks horizontally instead of vertically."

    David Justice homered and drove in two runs for the Yankees, who beat Kansas City for the seventh time in eight games this season. His leadoff homer in the seventh off reliever Paul Spoljaric gave New York a 6-4 lead and atoned for a fielding error in the sixth that allowed an unearned run to score.

    Outfielder Carlos Beltran, making his first start since he went down with a bruised knee on July 3, went 2-for-4 and drove in a run for Kansas City.

    The Royals took a 1-0 lead on Jermaine Dye's RBI double in the first inning, but the Yankees scored four times in the third against Jeff Suppan (7-9). Clay Bellinger homered, Paul O'Neill's fly ball fell in for an RB single, Tino Martinez hit a sacrifice fly and Derek Jeter was able to score from third when O'Neill got caught between first and second after a strikeout.

    Suppan gave up five runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out three and walking four.

    The teams traded sacrifice flies in the fifth, Johnny Damon answering Justice's RBI with his own to make it 5-2. The Royals scored twice in the sixth, cutting the Yankees' lead to 5-4, when Beltran hit an RBI single to left and the ball got away from Justice, allowing Mark Quinn to score.

    Notes

  • Brosius' grand slam was his second of the season. He hit the first on May 7 against Baltimore.
  • Cone won three of his four previous decisions after a 1-10 start.
  • Justice's homer was his 35th of the season, but first since Aug. 19.
  • Damon stole his league-leading 41st base in the third.
  • With a second-inning walk, Jeter extended his streak of reaching base safely to 30 games, the most by a Yankee since he did it in 53 straight games last year.
  • Sweeney needs seven more RBIs to tie the team record of 133, set by Hal McRae in 1982.
  • Dye, who doubled once Tuesday, has four in the first two games of the series.

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