Yankees’ rust shows in game one versus Royals

The New York Yankees were eager to play baseball again after two days off and an overnight flight delay that found them sleeping in a Washington D.C. airport. The rain in Washington gave the team extra rest, but it didn’t help as they dropped the first game to Kansas City by a score of 5-2.  

Credit: AP/Colin E. Braley

Veteran CC Sabathia faced off against Kansas City’s 25-year-old RHP Jakob Junis. In the first inning, the Yankees went down 1-2-3, though the Royals were not as easy to put away. Sabathia surrendered a leadoff double to Whit Merrifield. Soon thereafter, Merrifield stole 3B during Mike Moustakas’ six-pitch walk. A blooper that Gleyber Torres couldn’t hold onto allowed Merrifield to score on a Salvador Perez force out, giving the Royals a 1-0 early lead.

After back-to-back strikeouts by Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sánchez, Aaron Hicks gave the Yankees their first hit, a single to center field. Unfortunately, Neil Walker quickly grounded out in the next at-bat to end the top of the second inning.

The offense remained quiet for the Bombers in the third. A one-out single by Torres was wasted after Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge failed to get on base.

Credit: AP/ Colin E. Braley

The bottom of the third inning proved to be a struggle for both Sabathia and the Yanks’ defense.  Kansas City quickly had first and third with no outs. Uh-oh. Merrifield stole his second base of the game, however, Sabathia rebounded and got the next two outs. Jon Jay grounded out to second, but messy defense (again) from Torres caused Jay to reach base, and Abraham Almonte to score. A bases-loaded walk to Hunter Dozier forced another run to score. CC struck out Alex Gordon to end the troublesome inning. It’s hard to believe that the Royals only plated two runs during the inning, especially since CC threw 41 pitches.

Didi led off the fourth with a flyout to left field. In the past 15 games, Gregorius has hit a meager .097, which is the lowest in the majors during that span.

CC Sabathia bounced back nicely next inning, only giving up one hit to none other than Whit Merrifield. Thanks to a diving grab by Judge, the Yankees escaped the fourth inning without giving up a run.

Junis gave up his first walk of the game to Torres, and Gardner smoked a base hit to right. Aaron Judge put up a good fight but was unable to deliver the big hit.

Perez extended the Royals’ lead in the fifth with a 402-foot solo shot to left, the only damage done by KC that inning.

Stanton reached on a leadoff infield single for the second time today in the top of the sixth. After yielding a single to Hicks, Jakob Junis, who shutout the Yankees through 6.1 IP, was replaced by Tim Hill. Neil Walker, the Yankees best rally-starter, singled to score Stanton. Miguel Andújar hit a sac fly to Soler, scoring a second run. Gardner ended the inning after a nice defensive play by Hill.

Solid outings from the bullpen tonight kept the Yankees in the game. Chasen Shreve replaced CC in the bottom of the sixth, pitching a clean 10-pitch inning. David Robertson took over in the seventh and surrendered an RBI double to Perez. Jonathan Holder, relieving Robertson, struck out two in a scoreless eighth.

Kelvin Herrera quickly sat down Andújar, Torres, and Gardner to close out the game.

The Good: Yet again, the Yankees proved that they refuse to quit. After winning 7 straight series, it’s impossible to say that the Bombers won’t rebound and win the next two games at Kauffman Stadium.

The Bad: Gregorius continues to slump at the plate, and sloppy defense by Torres.  

Winning Pitcher: Jakob Junis (5-3, 3.51 ERA) 5.1 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K 
Losing Pitcher: CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.40 ERA) 5 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

Aaron Hicks, 3-4, 1 R
Chasen Shreve, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB
Jonathan Holder, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K

Whit Merrifield, 3-4, 2 R
Salvador Perez, 2-3, HR, 3 RBI

What’s next?
The Yankees have ace Luis Severino on the mound for the second game of the series, hoping to continue his stellar season. In Severino’s last three starts, he is 3-0 with 28 Ks and a 1.29 ERA. For the Royals, LHP Danny Duffy will try to improve upon his atrocious start against Cleveland on May 13th, where he allowed 9 ER and 5 BB in just 3.1 innings of work. Game time is scheduled for 7:15 PM EST.  

Article by Isabella Anton


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