The New York Yankees’ opportunity to sweep an interleague doubleheader rolled through Pat Kelly’s legs.
Kelly misplayed Moises Alou’s bases-loaded ground ball, allowing two runs to score in the ninth inning as Florida edged the Yankees, 6-5, in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday.
“It wasn’t the prettiest way to win the game,” Alou said, “but we’ll take it.”
The Yankees rallied to win the first game, 8-5, with a four-run ninth inning. Paul O’Neill doubled home the tying run and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly caught by second baseman Kurt Abbott in foul territory.
The Yankees were looking for a sweep until their middle infielders let them down.
Florida capitalized on an error by shortstop Derek Jeter to score two unearned runs in the eighth for a 4-3 lead. New York went ahead with two runs in the ninth.
Florida’s winning rally against Mariano Rivera (1-2) in the second game began when Edgar Renteria reached on a one-out bunt single. He took third on Cliff Floyd’s double, which landed on the foul line behind third base, and Gary Sheffield was intentionally walked.
The Yankees were looking for a double play when Alou’s grounder appeared to take a bad hop through second baseman Kelly for an error. Renteria and Floyd scored without the Yankee infielder making a play.
“I don’t know if I took my eye off it or not, but I expected a little hop and I didn’t get one,” Kelly said. “I should have made it. [Little Leaguers] can turn it. That’s a routine play--catch and flip. I don’t feel too good right now.”
Interleague play continues for both teams today. Florida travels to Detroit, and the Yankees open a historic three-game series against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium.
“Life goes on. . . ,” Kelly said.
Florida won two out of three from New York.
Florida catcher Gregg Zaun hit a two-out, two-run double in the eighth inning of the second game to put Florida ahead, 4-3. New York scored twice in the ninth against Robb Nen (5-2) on a ground out by Jeter and Kelly’s triple.
Yankee pitcher Dwight Gooden made his first start since April 5. He left after five innings with a 3-2 lead. Gooden, who had been sidelined because of a hernia, gave up five hits and four walks.
Sheffield went 0 for 2 with a walk against Gooden, his uncle. Gooden and Sheffield had 300 friends and relatives at the game, and the Marlin slugger paid all of their hotel bills.
Florida recalled Cuban defector Livan Hernandez from triple-A Charlotte to make his first start in the second game. Hernandez (0-1), 22, who signed a $4.5-million contract in January 1996, allowed three runs in five innings with six strikeouts, then was optioned back to Charlotte.