Remember when I said that “anything less than two out of three against the Royals at home would have to be considered a pretty monumental failure”? Well, the Yankees managed to pull off the seemingly impossible, getting blown out by the Royals 11-5 and dropping two of three at home — making this the first time Kansas City won a series at Yankee Stadium since 1999.
This game started out about as horribly as possible. Ivan Nova was awful, and the Royals’ 6-run second inning was the biggest inning Yankee pitching has given up all season. Nova wound up yielding eight runs (though only four earned), lasting three-plus innings while also getting no help from his defense.
As if the Royals jumping out to an 8-0 lead wasn’t bad enough, Sean O’Sullivan managed to throw four perfect frames before the Yankees finally simultaneously broke up the perfect game and got on the board via a Robinson Cano home run. The Yankees plated three more runs in the fifth to cut the lead in half and briefly provide a glimmer of hope that they might be able to surmount the deficit, but Amaury Sanit — throwing garbage time in his MLB debut — gave one of those runs right back on an Eric Hosmer double (Hosmer also homered and singled), and the Yankees couldn’t get much going with the Royals up 9-4. Billy Butler also had a big night, going 4-6 and driving in two.
I suppose if you want to look for a positive, this was the first true blowout loss of the Yankees’ season — their previous biggest margin of defeat was four runs, which speaks to the surprising strength of the team’s pitching this season. Still, it’s pretty tough to sugarcoat this one, as the Royals’ 11 runs and 16 hits were both season-highs yielded by the Yankees, not to mention the fact that that Kansas City tally included another Melky Cabrera home run (grrr). I also don’t know how to explain the fact that the Yankees only managed to score 3.33 runs per game against the likes of Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan, I really don’t. I know that this is baseball, and that every now and then the Yankees are going to lose to bad pitchers, but this particular level of offensive ineptitude is startling.
About the only other good thing is that Alex Rodriguez ended his 19-game home run drought with his 6th bomb of the season, and also had another hard hit out that looked like a hit off the bat but was right at Alex Gordon. The team really needs Alex’s bat to come back in a big way, as they’ve been getting virtually nothing out of him since that last home run against the Orioles, and hopefully this is a sign that A-Rod is finally getting back on track.