(Reuters) - New York pitching ace C.C. Sabathia extended his win streak to four games and Derek Jeter hit a two-run homer as the Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 6-2 on the road on Friday.
Sabathia went eight innings for the third straight time, allowing two runs on seven hits and retiring 12 straight at one point before finishing with five strikeouts and no walks.
“C.C. steps up when we need him the most,” Jeter told reporters after belting a two-run blast to left field, his fifth homer of the season. “He likes to be out there. He likes to finish games. He threw eight great innings today.”
Mark Teixeira also homered as the Yankees snapped a three-game losing skid just one day after veteran closer Mariano Rivera, Major League Baseball’s career saves leader, tore a knee ligament in batting practice.
Rivera gave his team a welcome boost earlier on Friday when he said he planned to come back from his injury following surgery on his right knee rather than retire from the sport.
“I‘m coming back,” Rivera, 42, said. “Write it down in big letters. I‘m not going down like this. God willing and given the strength, I‘m coming back.”
The Panamanian right-hander, who has registered a record 608 career saves, hurt his knee while fielding fly balls during batting practice before Thursday’s game against the Royals.
On Friday, Eduardo Nunez hit a go-ahead triple into the right-field corner to open the floodgates in a four-run seventh inning as the Yankees rallied to top the Royals.
Backup catcher Chris Stewart followed as he lined a run-scoring single over shortstop Alcides Escobar for the fourth run and Jeter completed the damage against Bruce Chen by jumping on a changeup for his two-run homer.
”The bottom of the order really contributed tonight with two-out hits, starting with Nuney,“ said Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ”It just kept going.
“It was important, and Jeet kind of capped it off with his two-run homer to give C.C. some breathing room.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Ransom