Yankees reach 13th straight winning April


NEW YORK (AP) -- Javier Vazquez appeared to be on his way to a
perfect night.

After trying to sneak a curveball past Ken Harvey, the New York
Yankees right-hander settled for a mostly dominant outing.

Vazquez allowed two runs and two hits -- including Harvey's homer
in the fifth inning -- and the Yankees won their season-high fourth
straight, 5-2 over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

"I felt pretty good, but when you're pitching, someone's
usually going to get a hit," Vazquez said nonchalantly. "You're
not going to get a no-hitter every night you pitch. That's just
part of baseball. They're going to hit home runs against you. You
just have to forget about it and go on to the next one."

Vazquez retired the first 13 batters he faced -- including five
on infield popups -- before Harvey homered into the left-field seats
on an 0-2 curveball to tie it at 1 in the fifth.

That ended the perfect game, the no-hitter and the shutout bid.

"I watched the scoreboard and I knew it, but that doesn't
matter to me," Vazquez said.

The crowd of 43,327 at Yankee Stadium, sensing this was a night
Vazquez (3-2) had special stuff, booed as Harvey rounded the bases.

Vazquez, acquired in the offseason from Montreal for Nick
Johnson, Juan Rivera and Randy Choate, struck out five and didn't
walk a batter in eight innings.

"He just doesn't seem to get rattled," manager Joe Torre said.
"He gives up the home run and then just gets it done."

Other than Harvey's homer, the only runners Vazquez allowed came
when Tony Graffanino was hit by a pitch in the sixth and Mike
Sweeney doubled in the seventh.

"He threw the ball well," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "For
the most part, he was ahead in the count and he threw two different
curveballs: a slow one and then a harder one, and he threw that

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his eighth save in as many
chances. He struck out Harvey with two on to end it.

With the victory, the Yankees set a major league record with
their 13th straight winning April, going 11-10 in the month. They
shared the previous mark of 12 with the 1941-52 Yankees.

"A lot of the little things that we've been doing lately makes
me feel good," Torre said.

A day after ending an 0-for-32 slump with a leadoff homer off
Oakland's Barry Zito, Derek Jeter was 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI
and a run scored.

The Yankees, coming off a three-game sweep of Oakland, took a
3-1 lead with two runs in the fifth against Brian Anderson (1-2).

Jeter walked with one out, Bernie Williams doubled and Alex
Rodriguez drew an intentional walk to load the bases. Jason Giambi
followed with a grounder to first which Sweeney fielded but
couldn't get out of his glove, so his only play was to step on the
bag while Jeter scored.

"If I can make that play, we get out of the inning," Sweeney
said. "Those two runs that inning are mine."

Gary Sheffield was then intentionally walked to reload the
bases. Jorge Posada followed with another walk to force in New
York's third run. Hideki Matsui ended the inning with a flyout.

Harvey's sacrifice fly to center in the seventh made it 3-2.

The Yankees added two more runs in the eighth on a run-scoring
groundout with the bases loaded by Jeter, and Williams' RBI double
that fell in among left fielder David DeJesus, shortstop Desi
Relaford and third baseman Joe Randa in shallow left. Relaford
tumbled a couple of rows into the seats trying for the ball.

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by

After Williams drew a leadoff walk, Rodriguez singled under the
glove of Relaford. Anderson struck out Giambi looking, but
Sheffield grounded a hard single to left to score Williams.

Anderson allowed five runs and eight hits and walked seven in
seven-plus innings.

"I walked more guys tonight than I walked in my entire junior
year of college," Anderson said.

Game notes
Torre won't be with the team Saturday so he can attend his
8-year-old daughter Andrea's Communion ceremony. Bench coach Willie
Randolph and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre will handle game duties
in Torre's absence. ... Torre said the Yankees will option
left-hander Alex Graman to Triple-A Columbus before Saturday's game
to make room for Jon Lieber on the roster. Lieber, on the DL with a
strained right groin, will make his first major league start since
Aug. 1, 2002. ... Kansas City was 17-4 after 21 games last season.
This year, the Royals are off to a 7-14 start.