Yankees sweep Royals
Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Hiroki Kuroda threw 7 2/3 strong innings, Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells clubbed back-to-back homers, and the New York Yankees remained hot with a 4-2 triumph over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Both Cano and Wells drove in a pair of runs, with Wells finishing 3-for-4 and Cano and Chris Stewart each collecting two hits to help the Yankees to a season-high fifth straight win and the team's first three-game sweep in Kansas City since Sept. 7-9, 2007.
"These guys have gotten it done, different ways, different guys every night," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "The pitching has been very, very good. We've continued to lose players during the season. These guys have done a great job."
Kuroda (5-2) aided the cause by yielding just two runs on six hits while working at least seven frames for a third consecutive start.
Making his final scheduled appearance at Kauffman Stadium, Mariano Rivera tossed a scoreless ninth to notch his 15th save in as many chances to begin the season.
Ervin Santana (3-2) served up Cano and Wells' back-to-back blasts during a three-run top of the third, and surrendered four runs in all on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings to receive the loss.
Alex Gordon went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the setback, the sixth in seven outings for the Royals.
Kuroda's day didn't start off well, as Jarrod Dyson ripped his third pitch of the game down the right-field line for a double. He then moved up a base on an Alcides Escobar sacrifice before coming home on Gordon's deep fly to center for a quick 1-0 Kansas City lead.
The right-hander was in control thereafter, though, setting down the Royals in order in each of the next three innings and not allowing a runner past second until Kansas City got back on the board in the eighth.
"He had his stuff working and he kept us off-balance," said Dyson. "I'm not going to give him all the credit, but he did his job as a pitcher. We couldn't get our big hits today."
Santana, meanwhile, retired seven of the first eight Yankee hitters until Stewart singled with one out in the third. One out later, Cano sent New York in front with his 10th homer of the season, a blast over the Royals' bullpen on a first-pitch slider.
Wells followed with his third homer in five games, a towering fly that landed just inside the foul pole in left that put New York ahead 3-1.
He delivered again in his next at-bat, lacing a single in the fifth that brought in Brett Gardner after the Yankees' leadoff man doubled into the left- field corner.
New York mustered only two hits the rest of the way, however, and the Royals drew closer by reaching Kuroda for a run in the eighth.
Elliot Johnson began the comeback attempt with a leadoff double and scored on Escobar's grounder two batters afterward. Gordon then socked an opposite-field double that ended Kuroda's afternoon and brought the tying run to the plate, but David Robertson came on to retire Billy Butler and end the threat.
Rivera entered to a warm ovation from a classy Kansas City crowd in the bottom of the ninth and was greeted by a leadoff single by Eric Hosmer, but induced a double-play ball from Salvador Perez before finishing off his 29th straight successful save opportunity against the Royals.
"You appreciate that," said Rivera of the cheers. "[Saturday] they made me feel like I was from here [as well]. It was wonderful."
Rivera, who last blew a save against the Royals on Aug. 18, 1998, was honored by the Royals prior to the game, with the team making a donation to a church the legendary closer is renovating in the New York area ... The Yankees placed shortstop Eduardo Nunez, out since May 6 with a left oblique strain, on the disabled list prior to the game while purchasing the contract of infielder Alberto Gonzalez from Scranton-Wilkes Barre ... Santana is now 0-6 in nine starts against the Yankees since defeating them while with the Angels on Aug. 1, 2008 ... New York improved to 21-3 this season when allowing four or less runs ... Butler ended 0-for-4 and is now 2-for-23 over his last six games.
05/12 20:15:12 ET