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For second day, Guillen can't save KC

Guillen can't save Royals again

NEW YORK -- Another Jose Guillen home run, and another Royals loss.

Guillen banged his third homer in two games, but the New York Yankees came back for a 6-3 victory over the Royals on Sunday, as a sellout crowd of 54,213 fans sweltered in 95-degree heat.

There were two hits and two RBIs for Guillen and, in the first three games of this series, he's 7-for-12 with three homers and nine RBIs.

But Guillen's performance didn't keep the Royals from absorbing a second straight defeat after winning the series opener. Nor did some sensational defense by center fielder Joey Gathright.

Gathright went deep into Yankee Stadium's sprawling expanse to take two drives near the bright blue wall. He put an end to Zack Greinke's rocky first inning by grabbing Jorge Posada's clout with two runners on base.

Robinson Cano opened the second inning with another soaring blast that sent Gathright bumping against the wall after his catch.

"I didn't think I was going to get to 'em at first, but it was the luck of the Irish," said Gathright, pulling on a green shirt.

His diving catch of Hideki Mastui's liner that ended the fifth inning was spectacular, but it might keep Gathright out of Monday's series finale. He jarred his left shoulder, initially injured in a crash with David DeJesus on May 17 at Florida.

"I'd say he's questionable for tomorrow," said Royals manager Trey Hillman.

There was no question about Gathright's performance against the Yankees, though.

"Tremendous. Three unbelievable catches today," Hillman said. "We've talked about the expansive area that he's got to cover in our home ballpark and this is no different, especially in left-center."

The three catches probably saved three runs.

"It's good to see him doing it, because he's helping keep a powerful team like this off the board more than they already are," Hillman said.

Guillen gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the third inning, sending a full-count pitch from Yankees reliever-turned-starter Joba Chamberlain into the left-field seats. That followed DeJesus' double, which extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

Yet again, the Royals wound up losing, just as they had on Saturday, 12-11, despite Guillen's seven RBIs and two homers. Once again, Guillen was not in a mood to discuss the wasted production.

"You got to talk to the manager," Guillen said. "He can probably explain it better what's going on."

Well, the manager wasn't entirely sure, either. A plus was that the hard-throwing Chamberlain lasted less than five innings, but getting into the Yankees' bullpen yielded exactly nothing. Winner Dan Giese, Jose Veras and Mariano Rivera collaborated on 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

"I was pleased with the way we were selective against Joba, and getting his pitch count [78] up there the way that we did," Hillman said. "But once [we] got in the bullpen -- maybe it was the drastic change in velocity -- but we were not nearly as balanced, and we didn't square many balls up."

Greinke gave up a two-run homer to Bobby Abreu in the first inning. Johnny Damon, fresh off his 6-for-6 blitz on Saturday, tripled and scored in the fifth. Damon is hitting .487 (37-for-78) in his past 17 games.

Jason Giambi applied the final shot off Greinke in the sixth, belting a hanging curveball for a home run that put the Yankees ahead, 4-3.

Greinke threw mostly fastballs in the first inning, and that didn't work very well.

"So I started to pitch a little more and be a little finer and it worked for a little while," Greinke said. "Then a deep-in-the-count home run and a deep-in-the-count triple."

Royals reliever Ron Mahay was tagged for the crowning blow, a two-run double by Alex Rodriguez in the seventh. A-Rod tried for third, but Gathright, after first muffing the rebound in left-center field, threw him out at third base.

Still, Gathright was sore and likely won't play on Monday. Guillen, who was the DH because of a sore shin, might return to the outfield in his absence.

Obviously, the Royals want to keep the red-hot Guillen going.

"I'd say he's swinging just fine. We'll try to get him back out there in the outfield tomorrow and, hopefully, we can give Joey a day off," Hillman said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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