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Royals strand nine runners in 5-2 loss to the Yankees

Bobby Witt Jr. tries to swipe #50, but is caught stealing.

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Royals went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine runners on base in a 5-2 loss to the Yankees on Saturday night. Every hitter in the starting lineup collected at least one hit, as well as Dairon Blanco, who entered the game in the fourth inning, but the Royals had trouble getting runners in all night. Bobby Witt Jr. went 1-for-4 with a walk, but was caught stealing as he attempted to get his 50th stolen base of the year. The loss is the 106th of the season for the Royals, tying the club record for most losses in a season, set by the 2005 squad.

Like yesterday, the Royals got on the board in the first inning, although the Yankees were much more effective at limiting the damage this time with starter Clarke Schmidt. Maikel Garcia led off with a single, and MJ Melendez hit a two-out single to extend the inning. Nelson Velázquez hit a blooper off the end of the bat that fell in to score Garcia and put the Royals on the board. Salvador Perez hit a solo home run in the third, his 23rd of the year, equaling his total from last year.

Bobby Witt Jr. had a shot at stealing his 50th base of the year to become just the third 30/50 player in MLB history, but in the third he was caught stealing by Kyle Higashioka.

Steven Cruz started for the Royals and retired three of the four hitters he faced for a scoreless inning. Alec Marsh came as the bulk guy and put up zeroes on the scoreboard until the fourth, when he walked the first two hitters. He looked like he might get out of it unscathed when he struck out the next two hitters, but Oswaldo Cabrera singled to drive home the first Yankees run. Everson Pereira followed up with an RBI single to tie the game 2-2.

The Yankees brought in Frankie Montas, their big trade deadline acquisition last year, to make his 2023 debut as a reliever. In what is likely going to be his only outing of the year, the impending free agent pitched 1 13 innings of shutout ball with a walk and a hit allowed.

Marsh exited after giving up a lead off single to Higashioka and a sac bunt to Cabrera in the sixth. Collin Snider came in and gave up an RBI single to Esteven Florial to give the Yankees the lead. He walked the next two hitters, setting up a two-run single by Gleyber Torres to give New York a 5-2 margin. Four Yankees relievers managed to shut out the Royals over the last five innings with six strikeouts to preserve the win.

The Royals can still win the series and avoid breaking the single-season club loss record tomorrow afternoon at 2:10 CT with Zack Greinke scheduled to start, possibly for the last time.