The three-game losing streak is over and, just as importantly, the three-game exactly-one-run-scored streak is over as well. Boy was that annoying. The Yankees scored what looked like their token run in the first on Wade Davis wild pitch — Ichiro Suzuki was cut down at the plate when he got greedy and tried to score from second on the play — before breaking things open in the middle innings when something weird happened. The Bombers hit … bombs.
Robinson Cano did the honors the first time around, clubbing a three-run shot to dead center in the third inning. I have no idea why the Royals pitched to him with runners on the corners and two outs. Given how awful Travis Hafner has been these last two months, I’d have no problem intentionally loading the bases for him, and I usually hate intentionally loading the bases. Davis hung a slider and Cano clobbered it just to the left field side of Monument Park. It was the team’s first multi-run homer in seven games, going back to the second game of the Twins series.
Four runs felt like four hundred runs, but the scoring did not stop there. The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth for Lyle Overbay, and Davis was nice enough to leave his 104th and final pitch — a 95mph fastball — up in the zone. Overbay was late on the pitch but he got enough of it to muscle it out to left for the opposite field grand slam. I didn’t think it was gone off the bat, but it was certainly well struck. For the first time in eight games, New York hit multiple homers. For the first time in 32 games, they hit multiple multi-run homers. That dates back to the game immediately before the West Coast swing.
With all those runs on the board, Ivan Nova put it in cruise control and held Kansas City to one run in eight innings of work. It was a garbage time run in the eighth, so no harm, no foul. Kinda sucks that he lost the shutout though. Nova allowed five hits and two walks in those eight innings, striking out six and getting a dozen ground ball outs compared to six in the air. He threw 32 curveballs out of 105 total pitches according to PitchFX — 21 of the 32 for strikes and seven of the 21 for swings and misses — but not nearly as many as he did in his last start (50). That’s good to see only because throwing 50 (!) curves each time out will wreck an arm in no time. Glad to see Nova pitch well and mix things up a bit more.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the WPA Graph, and ESPN the updated standings. Both the Orioles and Rays won, so the Yankees remain tied with Baltimore and two back of Tampa in the loss column for the second wildcard spot. The Bombers and Royals will wrap-up this four-game series on Thursday afternoon, when Andy Pettitte gets the ball against Ervin Santana. The Yankees really need a strong outing from Pettitte. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the matinee live.