Rivera Wild, Yankees Lose to Royals in Ninth

A.J. MartelliSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2008

The New York Yankees lost a tough game to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night, losing 4-3.

The Yanks and Royals had to wait an hour and twenty three minutes before the start of the game due to inclement weather, but at roughly 8:30 ET, the game was underway.

Andy Pettitte took the ball for the Yankees. Pettitte went seven innings, gave up three runs on six hits, walked four, and fanned seven.

Gil Meche went for KC. Meche lasted six innings, gave up one run on six hits, walked two and struck out eight.

Kansas City put the first run of the game on the board in the top of the second inning. Ross Gload hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Jose Guillen, and the Royals went up 1-0.

The Royals put two more runs on the board in the top of the fifth. Mark Teahen hit a ground rule double to score John Buck and Esteban German, giving the Royals a 3-0 lead.

The Yankee offense finally woke up in the bottom of the fifth, putting a run on the board with an RBI single from Derek Jeter to score Jose Molina, and the Yankees cut the lead to 3-1.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees tied the game at three. Bobby Abreu singled to score Johnny Damon, and Alex Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to score Jeter.

With the game knotted at three in the top of the ninth, the Yankees once again turned to Mariano Rivera to hold the Royals at three runs.

Rivera struggled again in the ninth. He tossed a wild pitch, and with Mike Aviles at the dish, German scored the go-ahead run from third base to put to Royals up 4-3.

The Yankees threatened in the bottom of the ninth. Wilson Betemit led off with a weak, infield single. He was promptly replaced with the speedy Justin Christian.

Christian was caught napping at first base, and picked off by Joakim Soria with nobody out. After the pickoff, the Yankees loaded the bases with two outs. However, Jason Giambi flew out to center field to end the game.

Leo Nunez of the Royals captured the win, and improves to 4-1. However, he also recorded a blown save, as he allowed the Yankees to tie the game at three.

Rivera takes the loss, and now has a losing record of 4-5.

Ron Mahay recorded his 20th hold this season, and Soria notched his 33rd save of the year.

The Yankees had the lead off runner on base in each of the first five innings of this game, and failed to score until the fifth inning.

In addition to not getting the leadoff runners in, the Yankees left 11 men stranded on base tonight.

"Close ain't good enough. We've got to execute. We had plenty of opportunities, but we never cashed in. We have to find a way to get it done," said manager Joe Girardi after the Yankees loss Friday.

In other Yankee notes, the Yankees designated Richie Sexson for assignment today, and sent Melky Cabrera to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because of his failure to produce. Cabrera has not been in the minor leagues since 2006.

The Yankees called up Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom to fill the roster spots. 

The Yankees continue to play sloppy baseball, and will try to end the poor gameplay tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 ET.

Sidney Ponson (7-3, 4.27 ERA) will look to end the Yankees' losing skid. He will be up against Zack Greinke (9-8, 4.09).