KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On one encouraging note for David Phelps, the Yankees did finally score a few runs behind him. They hadn't been doing much of that in his three previous starts, all losses. In half of his previous six starts altogether, the offense had not scored at all while Phelps was in the game.
Just about everything else on this pleasant Midwestern evening was discouraging for the Yanks and their struggling right-hander. After Carlos Beltran's first post-DL hit helped knot the game at three with a three-run outburst in the sixth, Phelps immediately gave back those three and tossed in one more, and the Royals rang up an 8-4 triumph to square their four-game set at one win apiece.
Phelps launched his defense of the 3-3 deadlock his teammates had just worked so hard to hand him by walking the first two batters he saw.
Then, manager Joe Girardi decided to let him face Salvador Perez in a matchup of right-handed hitter against right-handed pitcher.
The beefy catcher slammed an 0-1 delivery 397 feet over the fence in left, and two pitches later, Lorenzo Cain punished a Phelps fastball and legged out a triple. Phelps got the next two batters out before Norichika Aoki's opposite-field single plated Cain for a 7-3 lead that must have looked Mount Everest-massive to a Yankees attack that hasn't scored more than seven runs since May 7.
Carlos comes through: Beltran, 0-for-9 since coming off the DL, hooked the first pitch Danny Duffy threw him in the sixth into the left-field corner for an RBI double. Mark Teixeira, who had walked, wound up on third, and both scored to knot it three-all when Yangervis Solarte hit a sinking liner that skipped over the glove of a diving Cain in center.
Until Derek Jeter singled with one out in the sixth and trotted to second on Teixeira's walk, the Yankees had advanced only one man as far as second, and he got there via a walk and a wild pitch.
Streaking: Jacoby Ellsbury's first-inning single stretched his hitting streak to 12 straight games, a team high this year. It's the 13th time in his career the outfielder has had a hitting streak of 10 games or more.
Yankee nemesis: The Yanks wouldn't mind if KC left fielder Alex Gordon caught cold and missed the next two games. Gordon had a double and a single and scored both KC runs on Friday night and ignited Saturday's three-run second inning with an RBI double. He then scored on a single by Cain. After walking, he scored again on Perez's homer in the sixth. In the seventh, Matt Daley plunked him on the leg.
Catch of the day: The Royals had runners at the corners with one out in the fourth when Alcides Escobar slammed a rocket line drive that somehow embedded itself in the glove of a startled Phelps. Mike Moustakas had broken for second and was easily thrown out for a 1-3 double play.
Challenging Sal: Somebody should tell the Yankees that Perez led AL catchers last year with 23 runners thrown out. They've tried him twice in these two games and stand 0-for-2, with Brian Roberts getting gunned down at second in the fourth inning Saturday.