Royals end skid, will bid for another win vs. Yankees

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals found a team they could beat — the New York Yankees.

After losing five in a row, including a sweep at home by the Tampa Bay Rays, and seven of eight, the Royals downed the Yankees 5-2 in the opener of their series on Friday night.

Jakob Junis and four relievers restricted the Yankees to eight singles, only the second time this season New York failed to get an extra-base hit. Tim Hill, Kevin McCarthy, Brad Keller and Kelvin Herrera limited the Yankees to one hit in the final 3 2/3 innings.

The three-game series continues Saturday night with Luis Severino starting for the Yankees and Danny Duffy for the Royals.

Severino, a right-hander, is 6-1 with a 2.14 ERA in his first nine starts. He will be working with an extended five days of rest.

He is tied for the American League lead with six victories, and his ERA is fourth. He has held opponents to a .185 batting average, which also ranks fourth in the AL. The Yankees are 8-1 when he starts.

Severino threw his first career shutout on May 2 against the defending World Series champion Houston Astros, allowing five hits, walking one and striking out 10. That was also his first career shutout.

At 24 years, 37 days, Severino was the youngest Yankees Opening Day starter since Lefty Gomez, who was 23 years, 138 days on April 12, 1932 against the Philadelphia Athletics.

Severino has faced the Royals once in his career. That was on May 24, 2017, and he pitched eight scoreless innings while allowing four hits in the 3-0 victory at Yankees Stadium.

Royals utility player Ryan Goins is 2-for-7 with a home run and four RBIs against Severino. No other Kansas City player has more than four at-bats against him.

Left-hander Danny Duffy will start for the Royals. He is 1-5 with a 6.51 ERA in nine starts.

Duffy is coming off his worst start, allowing a career-high nine earned runs and eight hits and a season-high five walks in 3 1/3 innings on Sunday at Cleveland. It was his shortest start since being removed after three innings on May 15, 2016, which was his first start of the season.

Duffy has been excellent against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .179 average since the start of the 2016 season. He has limited left-handers to a .200 batting average this season and has retired 14 of the last 16 left-handed swingers he has faced.

Duffy, however, has had more than his share of trouble against right-handed hitters. They are hitting .308 (49-for-159) with 19 walks and 11 home runs.

Duffy is 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA in three Kauffman Stadium starts this season. He has not logged a home victory since Aug. 22, 2017.

Duffy is 3-2 with a 4.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees. He went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts in 2017 against New York.

Royals infielder Cheslor Cuthbert has not played since leaving the game Monday with back spasms. Manager Ned Yost indicated if Cuthbert’s back does not improve soon, the team may have to place him on the 10-day disabled list.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said outfielder Clint Frazier would likely start Saturday against Duffy. Frazier was recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he was on a rehab assignment. Frazier began the season on the concussion disabled list.

Boone said Greg Bird, who had right ankle surgery on March 27, is close to coming back. He is rehabbing with Double-A Trenton. Bird homered, walked and scored both runs Friday in the Thunder 2-0 victory over Bowie in the Eastern League. He is hitting .150 in seven minor league rehab games.

The Yankees have dropped three of five after winning 17 of 18 from April 21 to May 9. Their loss Friday ended a 12-game winning streak against AL Central teams dating to Aug. 30, 2017, when the Cleveland Indians swept them in a doubleheader.