After trading parries back and forth for the first six innings of the game, the Highlanders slashed mercilessly at Royals' ace James Shields in the seventh. The New York nine may have scored just two runs off Big Game James through those first six frames, but they added four more to their lead in a long seventh frame that saw Shields get pulled with two outs left and the game out of reach.
The Royals offense got little done against Yankee starter Michael Pineda, who allowed one run on five hits while walking none and striking out five. The one run came by way of a Mike Moustakas dong hanging, swatting his just over the fence.
With the Highlanders easing Pineda back into starting, he was pulled at 96 pitches following a Salvador Perez double. David Huff entered and succeeded in getting out of the one-out jam without allowing Perez to score. Huff finished out the game, ceding just two baserunners of his own.
James Shields didn't exactly look great early, with Stephen Drew hanging a sneering dong off of the righty in the fourth for the Yankees' second run. The seventh, however, was ugly. Martin Prado kicked things off by hanging another Yankee dong. Then Chase Headley, Ichiro Suzuki, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Derek Jeter all singled with aZelous Wheeler fielder's choice mixed in there for the first out of the inning. Brian McCann followed with a sacrifice fly in which Jacoby Ellsbury was initially called an out at the plate on the nice but late throw from Lorenzo Cain in right. After walking Carlos Beltran on his 110th pitch of the evening, Ned Yost finally made the walk to the mound, gesturing for Francisely Bueno.
For his part, Bueno pitched a serviceable eighth inning before serving up a Jacoby Ellsbury dong hanging of the two-run variety in the ninth and making way for Bruce Chen to throw the last couple outs.
The futility of the Royals offense this evening hearkened back to the worrisome days of the first few months of the season. Only Jarrod Dyson managed multiple hits, and he stumbled on a Pineda pick-off attempt and got picked off. No Royal earned a walk. Moustakas's solo hung dong and Perez's double were the only extra base hits for the Royals. Billy Butler, Lorenzo Cain, and Alex Gordon chipped in their own singles, but that's not enough offense to get it done.
This struggle to score runs lends even more to consternation when taking into account the fact that The Ham has sat to begin both of the last two days' games. Yesterday, Josh Willingham rode the pine in favor of purported morale booster Raul Ibanez. Today, Willingham sat once again as Ibanez got the second straight start at designated hitter. Of course, after two plate appearances in which Ibanez struck out and grounded out to second, The Ham got the nod and pinch hit against new pitcher David Huff. The Ham's career platoon splits are relatively similar, making such benchings--particularly when those benchings are to get Walking Dead extra Raul Ibanez in the lineup--pretty damn ludicrous.
With Detroit getting a day of rest, the Royals' lead in the Central was only trimmed to 1.5 games. The Mariners, who currently possess control over the second wild card spot, were down 1 - 0 in the seventh playing host to the dismal Rangers.