Rapid Reaction: Royals 6, Yankees 0

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
10:18
PM ET
Misery all around: A cold, rainy night at the ballpark made worse by the non-effort of the home team, who get shut out for the fourth time this season, and, in what is becoming both a nightly occurrence and a very bad habit, go 0-for-13 w/RISP. The Yankees fall, 6-0, to the lowly Royals, who have now beaten them in 3 out of 5 meetings this year, and drop to .500 (21-21) for the first time since April 18. Even worse, they are now tied for last place -- that's right -- in the AL East with the Boston Red Sox, who have won 9 of their last 11. The Yankees, meanwhile, have lost three in a row and seven of their last nine, and sit 5-1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore.

Now batting for the Yankees, Number 7, Mark Teixeira: In the lineup, that is, not on his back. Joe Girardi thought dropping Mark Teixeira, his usual No. 5 hitter to seventh in the batting order would a) "take the focus off him,'' and b) "get him going.'' It did neither. Teixiera went 0-for-3 in his first three ABs and was booed by the sparse crowd every time. His double leading off the ninth did nothing to raise the spirits of the small but angry mob that stuck it out to the bitter end.

It's lonely out there: The Yankees' futility with runners in scoring position might seem like an old story, but it renews itself every game. In the third inning, they loaded the bases on two singles and walk -- and stranded all three when Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez struck out and Raul Ibanez drove one to, but not quite over, the left-field fence, where Alex Gordon ran it down.

But that's not all: The Yankees stranded Eric Chavez at third in the fourth inning when Russell Martin grounded out, and squandered A-Rod's leadoff double in the sixth when Ibanez flied out and Nick Swisher and Teixeira struck out.

You, too, Captain?: Derek Jeter had a single in the third inning, but with an opportunity to drive in a run, he flied out to shallow center with Russell Martin (double) on second in the seventh. And in the ninth, with the horse way out of the barn, Jeter lined out to second, dstranding Teixeira at second.

Cano gets in the act: After Jeter flied out, Curtis Granderson walked to give the Yankees two runners on, two out and their best hitter at the plate. But Robinson Cano bounced out to third to strand two more baserunners, and end the inning.

Not him again: Royals righty Felipe Paulino, who shut out the Yankees in for six innings in his first start of the season on May 5 in Kansas City, did the same thing, only better, tonight, going 6-2/3 shutout innings and striking out eight. Paulino's career record is now 12-32, and two of them came against the Yankees this year.

No Hiro-ics tonight: Hiroki Kuroda went to a full count on each of the first four hitters he faced, and the fourth, Mike Moustakas, hit the 3-2 pitch into the RF stands for an early 2-0 lead. Kuroda also gave up an RBI double in the third and couldn't make it out of the sixth, but toughed it out to limit the damage to three runs. That would have been enough to keep previous Yankees teams in the game; it was just enough to take this one out of it.

Freddy, get a mop: Freddy Garcia was brought into the seventh inning to keep it close. Instead, he needed just two pitches to make it a foregone conclusion when Jeff Francoeur hit his 1-0 splitter into the bullpen. The two-run bomb gave KC a 5-0 lead. Things got worse in the eighth when Garcia surrendered a leadoff double to Irving Falu -- yes, THE Irving Falu -- and eventually wild-pitched him home for KC's sixth run.

Lotsa Jersey in the house: The small crowd applauded when the scoreboard showed the Devils leading the Rangers, 2-0, in the second period.

What's coming: I'll be taking an axe to this one, with the focus on the impotent lineup. Girardi went after Teixeira tonight: who does he go after next? A-Rod looks like the prime candidate from here. Also, whatever tidbits come out of the happy room downstairs. Should be interesting.

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow: Phil Hughes (3-5, 5.23) tries to get this one back against LHP Luke Hochevar (3-4, 7.02), first pitch at 7:05 p.m.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .291
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 58
OPSJ. Ellsbury .777
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135