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Garcia homers for third straight game in win

NEW YORK (AP) -- Andy Pettitte was cruising and it appeared the
New York Yankees were going to win a laugher against the Kansas
City Royals.

After a few defensive miscues in the seventh inning, the Yankees
were just happy they could chuckle about it later.

Pettitte took a shutout into the seventh, and Karim Garcia
homered for the third straight game as the Yankees overcame a
three-error inning to beat the Royals 6-3 on Tuesday night.

"I'm glad we were able to dodge that bullet," Yankees manager
Joe Torre said.

Pettitte (15-7) was undone by three errors -- two by Alfonso
Soriano -- in the seventh as the Royals cut a 6-0 deficit in half.

"I added a little fuel to the fire with a couple of bad
pitches," Pettitte said.

The left-hander allowed three runs -- one earned -- and eight hits
in 6 2-3 innings to win for the 10th time in his last 11 decisions.

"Andy made pitches to get people out, but we just didn't catch
the ball," Torre said.

It's the sixth time in Pettitte's nine-year career that he's won
at least 15 games.

Soriano and Bernie Williams also homered as the Yankees won
their sixth in a row, and seventh in their last eight games to move
a season-high 30 games over .500.

Jeff Nelson struck out two in 1 1-3 perfect innings and Mariano
Rivera worked the ninth for his 26th save in 32 chances.

"We had a couple of chances in the ballgame, although it was
mostly because they helped us some," Royals manager Tony Pena
said. "But what it really came down to was they used the power and
we played small ball."

New York, which moved a season-high 6{ games up on Boston in the
AL East, looks for a three-game sweep of AL Central-leading Kansas
City on Wednesday.

With the Royals trailing 6-0 in the seventh, Raul Ibanez led off
with a sharp grounder to second that Soriano fielded, but his throw
to first couldn't be handled by first baseman Nick Johnson and the
ball bounced into the stands. The play was ruled a single and an
error on the throw.

Joe Randa followed with a single to center, scoring Ibanez from
second. Ken Harvey singled, but Pettitte struck out Mendy Lopez and
Mike DiFelice flied out. Pettitte appeared to be out of the inning
when Desi Relaford grounded to first, but the ball bounced over
Johnson's glove and through his legs and rolled into right field as
Randa scored to make it 6-2.

Angel Berroa followed with a grounder to second that Soriano
couldn't handle, and Harvey came home on the error.

"I just made a couple of mistakes," Soriano said. "It's a
little frustrating because he pitched well today and could have
been out with no runs."

Nelson relieved and got Mike Sweeney on a grounder back to the
mound to escape further damage.

"That was big," Pettitte said. "Sweeney's a great hitter, and
it's just a big confidence booster for the bullpen to come in and
take care of business."

The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the third on Soriano's two-run
homer -- his 26th -- off Kevin Appier (8-9), who pitched six
scoreless innings in his last start, an 11-0 win over the Yankees
last Wednesday in Kansas City. It was Appier's third start this
season against New York. On Tuesday, he allowed six runs and six
hits in six innings.

"That's not fair, especially against the Yankees," Appier said
with a slight grin. "They have awesome talent over there and
you're just not going to shut them down all the time."

Williams made it 4-0 in the fourth with a two-run homer.

Garcia's homer made it 5-0 in the fifth. After Appier got Aaron
Boone on a groundout to lead off, Garcia sent the right-hander's
first pitch off the facing of the upper deck in left field. It was
his 11th homer of the season, and sixth with the Yankees.

"You just get more comfortable when you get at-bats, and that's
what's happened there," Garcia said.

After the game, the Yankees announced they recalled outfielder
Juan Rivera from Triple-A Columbus and sent rookie right-hander
Jorge DePaula down. With Rivera's arrival, Torre said he'll platoon
Rivera and Garcia in right field.

With left-hander Jimmy Gobble facing the Yankees on Wednesday,
Rivera will start instead of the streaking Garcia.

"That's fine with me," Garcia said. "When I get my next
opportunity to play, I'll take advantage of it."

Giambi helped manufacture the Yankees' sixth run in the sixth
inning. He drew a one-out walk and, one out later, stole second
base standing for his second steal this season. Hideki Matsui then
blooped a single to center, making it 6-0.

Game notes
Garcia's three other homers with the Yankees also came in
consecutive games -- on June 30, July 1 and 4. ... Pettitte improved
to 10-3 against Kansas City, and has won his last five decisions
vs. the Royals. ... The Yankees improved to 9-0 at home against the
AL Central this season. ... Appier's scoreless streak of 12 2-3
innings was stopped in the third when Soriano homered.