Making up for a game missed to rain way back in the halcyon days of May—back when the season felt like it was over before it wasn’t before it was again—the Royals traveled from Chicago on Sunday and took to the field for an early start in the Bronx before making their way back to Kansas City in a whirlwind few days of travel and baseball.
Ned Yost and the Royals pinned their virtually nonexistent playoff hopes on the back of rookie Jake Junis, hoping that he could avoid the fate of so many Royals’ starters before him, a shellacking at Yankee Stadium. Hardly the cannon fodder of the ilk of Eduardo Villacis or late era Jeremy Guthrie, Junis proved unable to stem the tide that was rising quickly over the sinking vessel of the Royals’ 2017 season.
Junis pitched part way into the sixth, which is an admitted improvement upon the work of most of his Royal peers. In his 5.2 innings, Junis ceded six runs, all of which were of the earned variety.
The first Yankee run came in the first courtesy of a Paulo Orlando misread that let Brett Gardner reach safely. Gary Sánchez doubled Gardner to third, and Didi Gregorius sent him home on an RBI-groundout. That the Royals defense continued to prove faulty on this road trip is no longer a surprise, and though there was no error on Paulo Orlando’s gaffe, this run was at least arguably on the defense behind Junis.
The next runs were decidedly Junis’s fault. After his teammates managed to not get a man aboard for the third straight inning, Junis got himself into trouble in the bottom of the third. Junis did a very unJunisian thing and issued a one-out walk to Brett Gardner. Aaron Judge predictably followed with a massive, demoralizing dong hanging, putting the Yankees up 3-0.
Junis worked a clean fourth and managed to strand Ronald Torreyes after a one-out “double” off Moustakas’s glove in the fifth. The sixth, however, was no walk in the park. Matt Holliday got the scoring started in the sixth with a one-out double. Sensing trouble, a visit to the mound was in order. Three pitches later, Greg Bird deposited a changeup left up on the outer edge of the plate into the stands in right center. Junis faced one more batter, retiring Todd Frazier via a grounder to second, but that was more a formality than anything else.
Trailing 6-0, Ned Yost turned to the pen in what seemed like a lost cause. Ryan Buchter, the only non-awful Padre since being traded for at the deadline, recorded an out, and the Royals headed to the top of the seventh trailing by a half-dozen runs.
Facing CC Sabathia for the third time, the Royals began to try to fight their way back into the game. Eric Hosmer started the frame with a leadoff single. Salvador Pérez followed with a bomb to left-center. SalvaDONG. After falling behind 1-2, Mike Moustakas followed with a hung dong of his own. The Moose Dong—his 38th on the year, increasing the Royals’ single-season record by one from his previous total on the year—spelled the end of the day for Sabathia, who gave way to Chad Green. After a walk of Jorge Bonifacio, Green settled down and quelled the Royals’ rally.
Facing another Padre, Trevor Cahill, the Yankees’ Dong Show got started again. After a double-play ball erased a leadoff single, Aaron Judge smashed his second of the game, good for his 50th on the year, breaking the rookie record (previously held by Mark McGwire) that he tied with his third-inning homer. Gary Sánchez followed with a solo shot of his own. 8-3, Yankees.
With Mike Morin pitching the eight because the eighth belongs to Mike Morin—Wait, who?—the Yankees added three more runs to their total.
Outside of the top of the seventh, the Royals offense didn’t do much.
The Yankees pretty thoroughly dismantled the Royals. Not much of a surprise. Given the Royals’ play since the beginning of August, this game was probably over before it had begun.