Joba's Second Chance
The New York Yankees have spent two months trying to rise from mediocrity. Johnny Damon is doing his part to help.
After going 6-for-6 and capping a dramatic rally, Damon will look to continue his hot streak on Sunday when the Yankees continue their four-game series with the Royals in the Bronx.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made New York -173 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 88% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -173 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
Damon is hitting .565 (26-for-46) with 11 RBIs in his last 11 games, and led New York to victory Saturday with an outstanding performance.
The Yankees (31-31) looked like they were about to drop their fourth of five meetings with Kansas City when Jose Guillen's seventh-inning grand slam gave the Royals a 10-6 lead.
However, Alex Rodriguez's two-run homer in the bottom of the inning started the Yankees' comeback. In the eighth, Damon's fifth hit of the game drove in two more runs to tie the score at 10.
The Royals' David DeJesus homered in the top of the ninth, before Jorge Posada did the same in the bottom of the inning to once again tie the score. Three batters later, Damon singled home his fourth run of the day on his sixth hit to cap New York's wild 12-11 victory.
Damon, who was drafted by Kansas City (24-38) in 1992 and spent his first six major league seasons there, is only the second Yankee to go 6-for-6 in a nine-inning game, and the first to do it at Yankee Stadium. Outfielder Myril Hoag did it in the Yankees' 25-3 rout of Boston on June 6, 1934.
"All these great players that played here didn't do it," Damon told the Yankees' official Web site. "I was fortunate to have that opportunity to do it. I'm blessed."
New York is hoping Joba Chamberlain (1-2, 2.42 ERA), making just the second start of his career, can settle down a Royals offense that entered Saturday averaging a major-league worst 3.6 runs.
Chamberlain, the Yankees' 22-year-old relief ace who's being transitioned into the rotation, seems to have nowhere to go but up after his first start on Tuesday against Toronto.
Chamberlain used up nearly all of his allotted 65-to-70 pitches in 2 1-3 innings, giving up two runs - one earned - on just one hit but walking four. He was removed in the third after his 62nd pitch.
"I was mad at myself,'' said Chamberlain, who's expected to see his limit increase by about 10 pitches. "You know you've only got so many pitches and I didn't do a very good job of conserving those pitches."
The Royals' 11 runs Saturday were their most since a 12-4 win over Tampa Bay last July 8. Kansas City's pitching staff, though, blew two four-run leads and fell to 4-28 in the Bronx since 2000.
"We gave it away three separate times,'' catcher John Buck said.
The Royals have dropped the last three games in which they've scored at least eight runs.
Jose Guillen provided a bright spot for Kansas City. The right fielder, who criticized his teammates' perceived lack of effort just over a week ago, went 3-for-4 with two homers and a franchise-high tying seven RBIs on Saturday.
Zack Greinke (5-3, 3.56) had been the Royals' best starter all season until recently. The right-hander is 0-2 with an 8.05 ERA in his last three outings.
He allowed eight runs - six of them on four homers - over six innings in a 9-5 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday.
Greinke fared much better at home against the Yankees on April 8, pitching eight innings of Kansas City's 4-0 win.
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