Series: Game 3 of 3

New York won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, August 6
Kansas City 6Final
New York 2
Game 2: Wednesday, August 7
Kansas City 2Final
New York 6
Game 3: Thursday, August 8
Kansas City 3Final
New York 6

Royals 3

(46-69, 16-44 away)

Yankees 6

(71-42, 35-18 home)

    1:05 PM ET, August 8, 2002

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 010000110 3 - -
    NYY 03003000 - 6 - -

    W: A. Pettitte (7-4)

    L: P. Byrd (14-8)

    S: M. Rivera (25)

    Rivera returns as Yanks hit three more homers

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The Boss made a beeline across the clubhouse, right to Mariano Rivera. George Steinbrenner rested his hands on the closer's shoulders -- come October, the New York Yankees could be doing the same thing.

    Rivera made an impressive return from the disabled list, needing only seven pitches to close out a perfect ninth inning and a 6-3 win Thursday over the Kansas City Royals.

    "It's very important to the psyche of this club,'' manager Joe Torre said.

    Alfonso Soriano, Raul Mondesi and Robin Ventura homered to account for all the Yankees' runs. Then the crowd of 55,142 stood when Rivera trotted in from the bullpen to pitch the ninth.

    Activated before the game after recovering from a strained right shoulder, Rivera quickly earned his 25th save in 29 chances.

    "Once I threw the first pitch, everything was perfect,'' Rivera said. "I feel great. It felt great to be back.''

    The Yankees thought the same way.

    "It's just a great lift for the team,'' center fielder Bernie Williams said. "I assume it's got to put a little pressure on the opposition, knowing they've got to score early because they don't want to face him.''

    The Yankees boosted their home run total to 172, most in the majors. The AL East leaders sent Kansas City to its 14th loss in 16 games.

    The homers provided plenty of support for Andy Pettitte (7-4). He won his third start in a row, pitching into the eighth inning.

    Paul Byrd (14-8) was tagged for all three homers. He threw complete games in four of his last five starts, but didn't get out of the sixth inning in his second career appearance at Yankee Stadium.

    "I made my pitches when I wanted to with Mondesi and he hit it out. I made my pitch to Soriano and he hit it out,'' Byrd said. "It was a little confusing to me.''

    Ventura, stuck in a 1-for-19 slump, hit his 23rd home run in the second. Jorge Posada, playing on Jorge Posada Bobblehead Day, followed with a double and Mondesi launched his 22nd homer into the upper deck in left field for a 3-1 lead.

    In the third, Byrd's streak without a walk ended at 42 1/3 innings when threw four straight balls to Derek Jeter with one out. The Royals record is 46 2/3 innings without a walk by Doug Bird in 1976.

    Soriano broke it open with a three-run shot in the fifth. Mondesi singled to lead off, and Ron Coomer reached on third baseman Luis Alicea's error to set up Soriano's 28th home run.

    Byrd left after another walk, to Mondesi, loaded the bases with one out in the sixth.

    Pettitte, who has not allowed a home run in his last nine starts, improved to 9-3 lifetime against Kansas City. He helped himself with his 67th pickoff since 1995 -- tops in the majors -- and got even more help from left fielder Rondell White.

    White drew a standing ovation after making a diving catch on the warning track to rob Aaron Guiel in the fourth and made a sliding grab on Chuck Knoblauch's liner in the eighth.

    Raul Ibanez, who doubled and scored in the second, chased Pettitte with an RBI single with two outs in the eighth.

    "I was upset that I couldn't get out of the eighth and try to talk them into letting me pitch the ninth,'' Pettitte said.

    Game notes

    Yankees 1B-DH Nick Johnson was not available a day after spraining his left wrist making a catch. He has a bone bruise and is day to day. ... Soriano is two home runs shy of the team record for a second baseman. Joe Gordon hit 30 in 1940. ... Royals C A.J. Hinch, who had thrown out only 12 percent (4-for-33) of opposing runners, caught Derek Jeter at second base. Jeter was caught for only the second time in 29 steal tries this season... Soriano struck out his other three times at-bat. ... Ibanez has 42 RBI in 39 games. ... The Yankees have not lost any of their last 12 series since dropping two of three in Baltimore from June 25-27. ... The Yankees have hit three or more homers in 21 games this season. They had a total of 20 such games last year.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press