NEW YORK | Oh yeah, the Royals are going to miss this place.
As farewells go, the Royals pulled out a doozy Sunday afternoon for their final appearance at Yankee Stadium. This 15-6 loss to the New York Yankees was like a collection of outtakes of countless miseries of recent years.
Crushed hopes. Battered pitching. And just a spice of unintended comedy.
The Royals opened the game by stinging 15-game-winner Mike Mussina for three runs in the first inning. Hey, maybe today?
The Yankees counterattacked with six runs against Brian Bannister in their first inning. Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer. Xavier Nady went deep. New York also hit for a team cycle in a span of four batters.
Onto the second inning. John Buck doubled, and Esteban German singled. The Royals had runners at first and third with no outs. Comeback, maybe?
David DeJesus popped out to short center. Mike Aviles grounded into a double play. So nothing.
Second inning (continued). The Yankees loaded the bases with their first three hitters against Bannister with a single and two walks. Jason Giambi then hit a 1-1 fastball over the right-field wall for his 14th career grand slam. (Note: not all against the Royals).
The Yankees led 10-3.
No more maybes.
Mussina, 16-7, settled into a groove and worked five shutout innings after the first before handing the game to the bullpen to start the seventh. He retired the last 14 batters faced.
Bannister lost his sixth straight decision in falling 7-12 and hit an astounding new low in a miserably disappointing season. He gave up 10 runs and 10 hits in one-plus innings as his ERA jumped to 5.96.
Bannister retired only three of 16 batters and allowed three home runs, which boosted his season total to a club-leading 22.
The Yankees finished with 17 hits, including four by Derek Jeter. Nine different players scored runs. Rodriguez had three hits and five RBIs. The victory enabled New York to salvage a 5-5 split in the season series.
Cody Ransom hit a two-run homer in a four-run seventh inning against reliever Jeff Fulchino. The Yankees pushed their lead to 15-3 before the Royals scored three late runs against relievers Billy Traber and Chris Britton.
The comic touch was a Royals’ specialty. It came in the third inning when A-Rod’s short pop to left fell between Aviles, who twisted his way back from short, and left fielder Mark Teahen.
The Royals suffered their ninth loss in 11 games and fell to 55-69. They collected 10 hits, including a two-run double by Billy Butler in the first inning and a two-run homer by Ross Gload in the ninth.
Some numbers on the Royals at Yankee Stadium, which closes after this season to make way for the new HOK-designed palace across the street.
The Royals were 12-49 here since the start of the 1995 season while compiling a 6.72 team earned-run average. So no Auld Lang Syne as they dressed in the visitor’s clubhouse for the final time.