Duffy dominates as Royals top Yankees 5-1 to avoid sweep


"Hicks' three-run homer with two outs in the fourth gave the Yankees a 5-0 cushion that the Royals could not overcome, and the Yankees kept adding on".

Royals RHP Nate Karns takes the mound as Kansas City begins a 10-game trip in Minnesota, where they were swept to start the season.

From Duffy's first pitch Thursday, this was his game.

The first-place Yankees have been bolstering their generally suspect starting rotation with a balanced lineup; consider that for the third straight game at Kansas City, Chris Carter - who tied for the NL lead with 41 home runs a year ago - was batting ninth.

After retiring his first nine batters, six by strikeout, Jacoby Ellsbury reached base with a well-timed bunt. Royals CF Lorenzo Cain stole his American League-leading 11th base in the first inning. Jorge Soler hit what should have been an inning-ending, double-play grounder with Bonifacio out at second, but first baseman Chris Carter dropped the low relay throw from Castro.

Montgomery (2-3, 4.81 ERA) was hurt by the Yankee defense in the second inning, then by the long ball in the fifth. During that outing, he also struck out seven while walking only one.

Danny Duffy's slider, however, was on-point. Last Sunday, he pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Houston, allowing one hit while fanning three. They pounded their 59th home run through their first 37 games, and scored seven or more runs for the fourth consecutive game.

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Whit Merrifield and Drew Butera followed with RBI singles for a 2-0 lead.

Drew Butera punched a line single to right, perhaps too hard to score Soler from second.

With that approach, "I think I can get better at-bats this year than last year, " said Castro, who batted.270 in his first Yankees season.

"Pineda (4-2), who lost to the Royals twice last season, was removed in the seventh after giving up a single to Brandon Moss and third baseman Chase Headley committed two errors, fielding and throwing, on one play".

That brought up Moustakas. A win tonight would make that 7-3 over their last 10, a nice move towards relevance. But seven of Moustakas' first eight blasts were of the solo variety. It was just Moustakas' second homer off a left-hander this season.

Off the bat, it looked like a no-doubter, but the ball, hit into a strong wind, cleared the right-field wall with a few feet to spare.