“Somebody’s going to pay the price,” Lima said. “I don’t know who, but somebody’s going to pay.”
The Yankees are a season-high 29 games over .500 and 5 1/2 games ahead of the Boston in the AL East, their largest margin of the year.
“We’re building a good lead right now,” reliever Jeff Nelson said. “Especially with the teams we play—Boston has a tough schedule, they’re playing Seattle and Oakland—we need to take advantage and extend the lead.”
The Royals are two games up on Chicago in the AL Central after the White Sox beat Anaheim on Monday.
Signed out of the independent Atlantic League on June 11, Lima (7-1) is a big reason the young Royals have been able to maintain their division lead thus far. But he struggled on this night in his return from the disabled list—the right-hander had been out since Aug. 2 with a groin strain.
“He was a little bit rusty,” Royals manager Tony Pena said. “I was happy with the results. His location was just up in the zone. He didn’t feel pain. He’s ready to go.”
Carlos Beltran homered, tripled and singled for the Royals, driving in three runs. Needing a double for the cycle, he grounded out against Nelson leading off the eighth.
“I was thinking about it in my last at-bat,” Beltran said.
Beltran led off the second by lining an 0-2 pitch from Weaver (7-9) over the right-field fence for his 21st homer of the season.
Lima walked the bases loaded in the second, and Soriano hit a two-run single with two outs.
The Yankees broke it open with five straight hits to start the third—three for extra bases. Derek Jeter led off with a triple to center—it bounced out of Beltran’s glove as he leaped in front of the wall—and scored on Jason Giambi’s single.
Bernie Williams singled, and Matsui lined an RBI double into the right-field corner. A strong relay cut down Williams at the plate, but Posada followed with his 22nd homer.
The Yankees hit for the cycle in the inning, taking a 6-1 lead.
Lima lasted four innings, giving up six runs and seven hits. His ERA rose from 2.96 to 3.72.
“My timing was a little off,” he said. “I never walk people like that. I’m just disappointed—we’re in a pennant race.”
Garcia added a three-run shot off Paul Abbott in the fifth, making it 9-2. It was Garcia’s second homer in two games and 10th this season—fifth with the Yankees since being acquired from Cleveland on June 25.
Beltran hit a run-scoring single in the fourth and an RBI triple in the sixth, when he scored on Raul Ibanez’s single.
The Royals tried to rally against New York’s struggling bullpen. Ken Harvey and Brent Mayne opened the seventh with consecutive doubles off Antonio Osuna, and Mayne scored on Nelson’s wild pitch to cut it to 9-6.
But Nelson retired all five batters he faced, and Chris Hammond finished up with a hitless ninth.
“He got big outs for us,” manager Joe Torre said of Nelson. “That was a good outing—a great outing.”
Johnson rolled an RBI single to right with two outs in the seventh, and Posada added a two-out RBI single in the eighth for some insurance. The Yankees had 14 hits.
Weaver was coming off a terrible start last Wednesday in Kansas City, when he was tagged for a season-high nine runs and 13 hits. He was helped by three double plays this time, all on hard-hit balls.
The right-hander allowed four runs, six hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings, leaving to a mix of cheers and boos.
“A little erratic at times, but I still felt a lot more comfortable with the total package I went out there with,” Weaver said. “The positives arewhat we’ll keep in mind and hopefully continue for next time.”
Beltran is 10-for-16 with four homers and 11 RBIs in his last five games. “Everybody knows Carlos Beltran is a second-half player,” Pena said. “He is getting hot at the right moment—right now.” … Johnson snapped an0-for-14 skid with a fourth-inning double.