The Royals continued their slide, dropping their fifth game in their last seven tries, and third in four chances against the Yankees in a 4-2 loss in New York on Monday. The Royals are just 6-15 on the road this season, and have not won a game in Yankee Stadium since September 6, 2015.
Jorge Bonifacio got the Royals on the board first, smacking his fifth home run of the season, already good enough for fourth on the team in that category. The slumping Alcides Escobar would add another run with an RBI double to score Whit Merrifield to make it 2-0 Royals.
Jason Vargas was lit up against the Bronx Bombers his last time out in Kansas City a week ago, but fared much better today. He kept the Yanks off the board for the first two innings before Brett Gardner launched a solo home run. Undeterred, Vargas struck out the next two hitters to end the third.
Vargas worked around a walk to Aaron Judge in the fourth and with two outs, needed only to retire shortstop Didi Gregorius, who had homered just once this year after a 20-home run campaign a year ago. Instead, Gregorius launched a 400-foot home run to right to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Vargas would leave the game with a “quality start”, allowing three runs in six innings on just four hits, with six strikeouts and three walks. Vargas has given up nine runs in two starts against the Yankees this year, and just six runs in seven starts against everyone else.
The Royals seemingly tied the game in the seventh when Alcides Escobar dribbled a grounder through the infield with two outs. Jorge Soler was able to come around third and appeared to score the game-tying run when Alcides Escobar beat the throw from second baseman Starlin Castro. At least according to first base umpire Marvin Hudson.
The play was challenged and in the review, the ball may have touched first baseman Chris Carter’s glove before Alcides Escobar reached first base. But it was not clear that the ball was in his possession by the time Escobar crossed first base.
The call was overturned and Escobar was ruled out, negating the run and ending the inning. Carter would blast a Seth Maness pitch over the centerfield wall to make it 4-2 and put the game away for the Yankees.
The Royals managed just seven hits and one walk against Michael Pineda, and relievers Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard, and Dellin Betances. They fall to 18-26, six games out of first place, and with Memorial Day weekend looming, their window of contention this year is closing.