Rapid Reaction: Royals 5, Yankees 1
May, 5, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: That the Yankees have now lost four of their last six to the Baltimore Orioles, who probably are not as good as their record, and the Kansas City Royals, who might be. Crisis time?
Termites in the bat rack?: Once again, little pop in the lineup as the Yankees are held hitless for 4 1/3 and manage just one run off the lowly Royals, who with tonight's 5-1 victory have taken two of the first three games of this series. Only Curtis Granderson (two doubles) and Russell Martin (home run, double) have anything to be proud of tonight.
Show me the way to go home: That could have been Granderson's walk-up music. Doubled twice, stranded twice. Once was his own fault (see below). The other? Blame Alex Rodriguez (groundout), Robinson Cano (groundout) and Mark Teixeira (strikeout), who wasted Grandy's leadoff double in the eighth.
Unlucky seven: Yanks stranded seven, went 0-for-7 w/RISP. Derek Jeter (0-for-4) was the chief culprit, grounding out with the bases loaded to end the fifth, and again to end the seventh with a runner on second.
Anti-Hiro: After throwing a gem at the Orioles in his last start, Hiroki Kuroda didn't have it tonight. With the help of an error by Jeter on the first play of the game, Kuroda allowed two first-inning runs and couldn't make it out of the fifth, allowing another run and leaving runners on first and third with one out for the bullpen to clean up, which Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley did. Kuroda's line: 4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 2 K's.
Perfect Paulino: Felipe Paulino, who was just activated for this game after having missed the first 25 games of the season with a forearm strain, retired the first 11 Yankees he faced, six on strikeouts and five on infield grounders, before walking Alex Rodriguez. Paulino -- whose career record coming in was 10-31 with a 5.28 ERA -- pitched six shutout innings, allowed four hits and struck out six.
The Butler did it: Royals DH Billy Butler doubled in two runs in the first and singled in another in the fifth, all off Kuroda, a pitcher he had never faced before.
Grand Illusion: For some inexplicable reason, Granderson chose to advance to third on A-Rod's fly ball to right in the sixth, even though there were none out and Cano and Teixeira waiting to bat. Jeff Francoeur made the catch in medium right and easily gunned Grandy down at third, changing what could have been a big inning into a two-out, bases-empty flop. When Cano followed with a single, which would have scored Granderson, the gaffe only became more obvious.
French fried: Francoeur not only made the double play, he ended the sixth inning with a sliding catch on Teixeira's sinking liner to right, stranding Cano at first.
Russell on the muscle: The Yankees were off the board until Martin ripped one to the back row of the bleachers above the Royals bullpen in left, estimated at 426 feet, off reliever Jose Mijares with one out in the seventh.
What's coming: Assorted blog items from the postgame clubhouse, which is sure to empty quickly since many of the players had plans to watch the Mayweather-Cotto fight.
Tomorrow: The task of salvaging a split in the series falls upon Phil Hughes (1-4, 7.48), who has not been good and may be pitching for his spot in the rotation as Andy Pettitte's return draws nearer. Hughes draws RHP Luke Hochevar
(2-2, 7.36) in the series finale, first pitch at 2:10 p.m.