Tale Of Two Riveras

Juan Rivera bailed out Mariano Rivera after the Royals came roaring back from a five-run defecit against the Yankee bullpen. Rivera threw Carlos Beltran out at second base from right field to prevent Kansas City from tying the game against Mariano in the ninth. The younger Rivera also homered and doubled in his first game back in pinstripes, leading the Yanks to an 8-7 victory and a series sweep.

With an 8-3 lead going into the ninth inning, the Yankees called on Sterling Hitchcock to try and finish off the Royals. Hitchcock allowed three consecutive, one-out singles to give the Royals another run and force him from the game.

Mariano Rivera came in from the bullpen to try and end the rally, but he didn't exactly have his best stuff. He allowed back-to-back singles to Mike Sweeney and Carlos Beltran to make the score 8-6. Raul Ibanez then raked a single to right field, but Beltran overran second base and was thrown out by Juan Rivera.

Joe Randa singled to make it 8-7, but if Beltran were still on base, the game would have been tied. Rivera struck out Desi Relaford to end the game and notch his 27th save.

Rivera the position player notched three hits in his return to the major leagues, including an RBI double in the second and a solo homerun in the fifth. Nick Johnson also homered in the fifth as the Yankees put up three runs to put them up by five.

The Yankees got four runs in the first inning in support of Roger Clemens (12-7) who picked up his 305th career victory. Clemens worked 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits. He struck out five batters to take the American League lead from Pedro Martinez with 164 whiffs.

Rookie Jimmy Gobble (2-2) suffered his second straight loss, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in just 4 1/3 innings. He also struck out three batters while walking two.

Ibanez, Randa and Ken Harvey all notched three hits for the Royals, who actually out-hit the Yankees 17-13. In fact, the Royals and Yankees had the same number of hits in the series, 35, despite the sweep. The Yankees out-homered the Royals 7-1 in the series.

The Yankees have a much-needed day off on Thursday before starting another four-game series with the Orioles on Friday. The Yankees, winners of their last seven, swept the Orioles in a four-game series in Baltimore just last week. Mike Mussina (14-6, 3.02), the reigning AL Player of the Week, will start for the Yankees in game one. Pat Hentgen (4-6, 4.42) will get the start for the Orioles.

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