NEW YORK (AP)—The Kansas City Royals had waited 15 days to win a game, so two more hours was no big deal.
Three outs from their first victory since May 10, the Royals endured a 108-minute rain delay and then a ninth-inning rally by the New York Yankees before nailing down a 7-6 win Friday night to snap a 13-game losing streak.
It was just the third road win this season for the Royals, who have baseball’s worst record at 11-35.
Angel Berroa hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the eighth inning and reliever Andrew Sisco escaped a jam in the ninth for the save. And for the first time in more than two weeks, smiles and music filled the Royals’ clubhouse.
“It feels great,” manager Buddy Bell said. “I know the way things have been going lately. You keep thinking positive. It worked out fine.”
Sisco came out of the bullpen and got Jason Giambi to ground into a game-ending double play with the potential tying run on third base.
“That’s tough for a pitcher to do, especially a relief pitcher,” Bell said. “He’s up at a moment’s notice. He threw a great pitch.”
Derek Jeter got his 2,000th career hit for the Yankees, who had won 14 straight home games against Kansas City since Aug. 6, 2002.
“A hit’s a hit,” Jeter said, “but we should have won this game. We let a couple of opportunities get away.”
Reggie Sanders homered as the Royals grabbed a 3-0 lead before falling behind 4-3. Giambi contributed a two-run double to a sixth-inning rally. But Kansas City battled back, tying the score in the seventh and taking the lead on Berroa’s fourth home run in the eighth.
Scott Elarton, who questioned his teammates’ desire to win last weekend, earned his first victory of the season.
“They dragged it out on us, didn’t they?” he said.
Leading by two after the top of the ninth, Kansas City had to wait out a long rain delay before closing this one out. Gary Sheffield’s RBI single off Joe Nelson cut it to 7-6 and put runners at the corners, but Sisco got Giambi for his first career save.
Giambi slipped in the muddy batter’s box as he tried to break for first.
The Yankees wiped out Kansas City’s early 3-0 lead and went ahead 4-3 in the sixth. But the Royals came back, tying the score in the seventh when Tony Graffanino singled, moved up on a sacrifice and scored on a single by Paul Bako against reliever Scott Proctor.
An inning later, Kansas City was back for more. Matt Stairs singled against Kyle Farnsworth (1-2), the fourth Yankees pitcher. With two outs, Graffanino walked and Berroa followed with his fourth home run.
“It was a hanging slider,” Farnsworth said. “He gets paid to hit that ball.”
Elarton (1-5) gave up five runs—four earned—and 10 hits in seven innings for his first win with Kansas City after signing as a free agent in the offseason.
Yankees starter Mike Mussina allowed four hits over six innings with six strikeouts and two walks. He retired 13 of his last 14 batters after the Royals took a 3-0 lead in the second.
Sanders opened the inning with his 299th career home run. After Mussina retired the next two batters, Graffanino singled. Walks to Berroa and Bako loaded the bases, and Shane Costa singled for two more runs.
The Yankees got a run back in the fourth against Elarton. Jeter opened with a tapper in front of the plate and beat it out for his 2,000th hit. He went to second when Bako threw wildly to first for an error.
With the Yankee Stadium crowd chanting his name, Jeter tipped his cap twice as he stood on second base.
“You appreciate the fans and their reaction, but at the time we were losing. The percentages were on their side to win,” Jeter said.
He stole third on the next pitch and scored New York’s first run on Rodriguez’s single.
Elarton retired the next two hitters, but Rodriguez got the run home when Costa just missed catching his sinking drive to center field that fell for a single.
Jeter became the eighth player to get 2,000 hits for the Yankees. … New York LF Melky Cabrera robbed Doug Mientkiewicz of an extra-base hit, running down his long drive and making a diving catch in the third inning. … Sanders’ home run gave him 999 runs scored in his career. … The three earned runs off Mussina in the second inning matched the most he has given up in any game this year.