NEW YORK (AP)—Jose Guillen sauntered over to his locker after his postgame shower Monday and waved a towel up and down in front of him, eagerly soaking in the cool air of the clubhouse.
Good luck, Jose. Tough to cool down after this series.
“That’s a tough one. That’s the last guy I want to face coming into the ninth inning,” Guillen said. “I was hoping it was somebody else. … I was just kind of realizing he’s going to come with that cutter and I guessed pretty good right there.”
Guillen went deep on an 0-2 pitch from Rivera (2-2), pumping his right arm as he watched the ball sail over the fence while rounding first base. Rivera turned around and shouted several times after the drive—a rare show of emotion for the longtime closer.
“You make your pitches, you are able to get him out,” said Rivera, who also surrendered a tiebreaking homer to David DeJesus on Saturday. “I didn’t make my pitches.”
It was Guillen’s 11th homer of the season and fourth in the past three games. He went 9-for-16 in the four-game series with four homers and 10 RBIs, and also scored six runs to help the Royals gain a split. The mercurial outfielder even threw out two runners in Saturday’s 12-11 loss to New York.
“That’s as good a series as I’ve seen a player have, especially in the setting that it happened,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “He’s worked hard to get where he is.”
The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, and Melky Cabrera hit a trickler up the line. First baseman Mark Teahen quickly scooped the ball and neatly tossed to reliever Joakim Soria covering the bag for the final out.
“Melky is a fast runner,” Soria said. “I just tried to run as fast as I can.”
Soria got his 14th save. In his previous appearance, he blew his first save opportunity of the season against New York on Saturday.
“We had a shot again,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We kept battling.”
Kansas City got a nice effort from Luke Hochevar and won for only the fourth time in 21 games. The Royals also improved to 5-29 at Yankee Stadium since the start of the 2000 season.
Mike Mussina, bidding to become the first 10-game winner in the AL, allowed two runs and seven hits over eight innings in his longest outing since he tossed a complete game in a win at Detroit on May 31, 2006. He is 8-1 with a 3.11 ERA in his past 10 starts.
“I haven’t been eight innings for a long time but it felt pretty good today,” Mussina said.
Mussina was working on a three-hit shutout when Guillen doubled with one out in the seventh. Alex Gordon flied out but Miguel Olivo hit the next pitch over the wall in left for his eighth homer of the season.
Kansas City put runners on second and third later in the inning but Mussina retired Joey Gathright on a grounder to third for the final out.
New York bounced back quickly. Abreu led off the bottom half with a double and Alex Rodriguez followed with a long drive to left to chase Hochevar and tie it at 2. It was Rodriguez’s 10th homer of the season.
Hochevar, the top overall selection in the 2006 draft, retired 14 straight after leadoff hitter Johnny Damon beat out a grounder for an infield single in the first.
“That was all that I was concerned with was executing one pitch at a time,” said Hochevar, who struck out four and allowed four hits in his first career appearance at Yankee Stadium.
The gametime temperature was 94 degrees, and the crowd of 53,633 used fans, towels and umbrellas to stay cool.
There was a loud cheer in the fifth inning when a cloud moved in front of the afternoon sun. A few moments later, the cloud moved along and there were a smattering of boos when sunshine spread across the stadium again.
Yankees RHP Ian Kennedy, on the DL with a strained muscle near his right rib cage and bursitis in his right shoulder blade, threw about 30 pitches in a bullpen session and was scheduled to travel to the team’s facility in Tampa, Fla., to continue his rehab. “It was a very average bullpen but it felt good,” said Kennedy, who threw all fastballs and changeups. … Kansas City returns home to open a three-game series against the Texas Rangers beginning Tuesday night.