Momentum stopper: Royals done in by Yanks rookie pitcher, fall three games under
JUN 06, 2014 11:57p ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- No magic this time.
During a week in which the Royals have showed some rare come-from-behind spunk, there was no such excitement this time in a 4-2 loss Friday to the Yankees, a defeat that once again stopped the Royals' momentum train from leaving the station.
The Royals again fell to three games under .500 at 29-32.
"The guys battled," starter Jeremy Guthrie said, "and they did some good things. Got some guys home in scoring position. But ...."
And the Royals even teased their fans with a late spurt in the ninth when Billy Butler rocketed a double off the left-center field wall and red-hot Alex Gordon walked.
But Sal Perez, one of several Royals either stuck in a dreadful slump or simply performing sluggishly at the plate, hit a one-hopper to third for an easy out, ending the game.
"I had a good feeling there," manager Ned Yost said. "I was hoping Sal could get a hold of one. Just didn't happen."
-- Who else? Gordo. Can you imagine the sinkhole the Royals would be in right now without Gordon and the way he's been hitting the past few weeks? Gordon again was the life of the offense Friday. He went 2 for 3, walked once and scored two runs. He smoked a double into the right-field corner in the second and scored on Perez's single to left. In the fifth, Gordon beat the shift with a line drive through one of the two gaping holes on either side of the shortstop. He then stole second and scored on Lorenzo Cain's hustle double.
-- Oh, that hustle double. Cain made a really alert play after Gordon's single and stolen base. Cain sent a grounder through the hole into center field. Gordon scored easily, and the Yankees tried to get a little cute in cutting down Cain. With first baseman Mark Teixeira taking the cutoff throw near the pitcher's mound and shortstop Brendan Ryan going into short center field to take that cutoff, second baseman Brian Roberts left his post and tried to sneak back to first base and surprise Cain behind him. But Cain simply just kept running toward a vacated second base and legged out an easy double.
-- One bad pitch? The play of the game was Yankees catcher Brian McCann's three-run double to left in the third inning off Guthrie. Guthrie said he tried to throw a pitch up and away to McCann with two strikes, knowing McCann is a pull hitter. But McCann simply slapped the ball down the left-field line.
"That's the first ball he's hit there all year," Yost lamented.
Guthrie just shrugged his shoulders. "It was kind of where I wanted it," he said. "He just slapped it. Guess I'll know better next time."
-- Poor approach. The Royals had an odd (but very predictable in their case) approach to Yankees rookie starter Chase Whitley. They came out hacking. They went three-up-three-down in the first and made Whitley throw only five pitches. Through three innings, Whitley needed only 29 pitches. Yost said, though, that it wasn't the plan for the Royals to go up there hacking against the rookie. "It just happened," Yost said. "... He did throw a lot of strikes."
Whitley needed only 87 pitches to get through seven innings. "He had a good two-seamer and a good cutter," said Billy Butler, who lined out hard to shortstop off Whitley while also striking out and flying out to fairly deep left center. "I still think I'm seeing the ball good. Hit a ball hard to shortstop and just missed that one to left."
-- LoCain's night otherwise. Yes, that was a great hustle double by LoCain, but his other at-bats? Not so great. When the Royals had a little thing going in the second with a run in and Perez on first with one out, Cain went hacking early in the count and rolled into a double play. Cain now has hit into five double plays, moving into fourth place on the team in that dubious category behind Perez (12), Eric Hosmer (7) and Billy Butler (6). Cain also struck out leading off the eighth, chasing a 3-2 pitch out of the zone.
-- Hoz and Moose. Hard to believe sometimes, especially right now, how Hosmer and Mike Moustakas used to hammer pitching together as they moved up through the minors. Hosmer now is mired in a dreadful slump (8 for 52) and Moose is, of course, simply buried. He came into the game hitting .148 and he again went hitless -- two groundouts to second and a strikeout. Danny Valencia will be eligible to come off the disabled list next weekend, and don't be shocked if Moose gets sent back to Omaha then. Moose has another week to prove he can somehow climb out of this paralyzing funk.