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Yankees-Royals Score: Robinson Cano Picks Up Ivan Nova In 9-7 Win

Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Robinson Cano's three-run homer in the fourth inning provided the difference, as the Yankees out-slugged the Royals, 9-7, at Kauffman Stadium.

Cano drove in four total runs while Russell Martin hit a two-run single for the Yankees, who moved a half-game ahead of Boston -- which split a doubleheader with Tampa Bay -- for the AL East lead.

New York won the opener of this three-game series on Monday by a 7-4 score, and has claimed five of its last six games. All of those victories have at least one thing in common -- lots of offense. The Yankees have totaled a minimum of six runs, and a combined 40 runs, in those five wins.

They did their damage Tuesday against Kansas City rookie starter Danny Duffy (3-7), who allowed a career-high eight runs in three-plus innings.

New York starter Ivan Nova (12-4) won his fifth consecutive start and his eighth consecutive decision despite allowing seven runs in 5 1/3 innings.

"If you score seven runs, you should be able to win a ball game," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "We think we've come a long way as an organization in a lot of areas. We still have to continue to refine our starting pitching and get better in that department."

The Royals rallied to take the lead in the third inning, which Alcides Escobar opened with a triple. Alex Gordon grounded out to plate Escobar, and Melky Cabrera followed by blasting a hanging curveball over the right field fence. Jeff Francoeur doubled in a run later in the frame for a 5-3 edge.

But New York responded in a big way in the fourth.

Brett Gardner bunted his way on base and scored on Derek Jeter's double to left. Curtis Granderson then reached on a sacrifice bunt, sending Jeter to third, and Mark Teixeira singled to tie the game.

Cano came up next and engaged in a long plate appearance against the left- handed Duffy, who threw two consecutive balls to move the count to 3-1. Cano then fouled off seven consecutive pitches in and around the strike zone.

The 12th pitch Duffy threw was a slider that started out inside to the left- handed Cano and sliced back toward the middle. But it caught a lot of the plate and was up, and Cano crushed it well beyond the wall in right-center field for an 8-5 lead.

"I didn't know what he was going to throw on that pitch," Cano said. "I was just thinking about swinging at a strike."

The blast signaled the end of Duffy's start and his first career outing against the Yankees.

The Royals made the game close in the sixth, when Francoeur singled and Johnny Giavotella walked with one away. Catcher Salvador Perez smacked a double to the wall in left-center to bring Kansas City within 8-7, and chased Nova in the process.

However, Boone Logan retired the next two Royals hitters to end the threat, and New York got one of the runs back in the next inning. Gardner tripled to the right field corner and Jeter singled him home.

Logan, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera held the Royals without a baserunner over the final three innings. Rivera picked up his 32nd save with a flawless ninth.

The Royals had stormed out to a lead in the first inning, when Eric Hosmer doubled in a run and scored on Francoeur's base hit. But the Yankees got an RBI single from Cano and Martin's two-run hit to grab a 3-2 edge in the third.

Game Notes

Yost was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing...Cabrera's homer was his career-high 16th of the season, and extended his hitting streak to nine games. His previous career best for homers was 13 in 2009, when he played for the Yankees...The Royals have dropped their last four games...The Yankees are 26-10 vs. left-handed starters this season.

Final - 8.16.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York Yankees 0 0 3 5 0 0 1 0 0 9 12 0
Kansas City Royals 2 0 3 0 0 2 0 0 0 7 9 1
WP: Ivan Nova (12 - 4)
SV: Mariano Rivera (32)
LP: Danny Duffy (3 - 7)

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