Punchless Royals Punch Out Punchless Yanks, 8-4

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GAME 61: Opportunities wasted — on more than one level. How else to describe tonight’s maddening outcome in Kansas City? Apparently plating four runs against one of the worst run-producing teams in the American League isn’t enough. Maybe not totally punchless in this game, but the failure to punch back loomed it’s ugly head once again. If you’re scoreboard-watching, the Toronto Blue Jays lost earlier in the day for the first time in years, so it was a perfect chance to knock a digit off of the 6-game deficit. These games will come back to haunt you in September, says the voice of experience.
Starter David Phelps recovered from a rocky outset, allowing 3 runs in the second inning, and settled down long enough for the Yankees to even the score at 3 in the top of the 6th. Then he gave it right back and more in the bottom of the sixth. After walking the first two batters, Phelps gave up a 3-run homer to KC catcher Salvador Perez. Yet another run was tacked on after a Lorenzo Cain triple and Norichika Aoki single made the score 7-3. That was it. Both teams added a meaningless run afterward.
Coming off the encouragement of solid back-to-back starts from Masahiro Tanaka and Chase Whitley, and timely hitting from the offense, the Yankees let that momentum slip against the light-htting Royals — although you couldn’t tell that tonight, as KC hit for the cycle against New York pitching.
Hiroki Kuroda (4-3) matches up tomorrow afternoon against KC-ace James Shields (6-3). Obviously the pivotable game of the series, and maybe for the month of June.
Here’s the box score and recap.
SOME GOOD NEWS: Carlos Beltran obviously needed some game-speed ABs to get this timing back, and showed signs of getting it dialed in tonight. He missed a then game-tying home run by just a few feet in the top of the 6th, settling for a 2-run double that brought the Yanks off the mat and back into the game … Recent bullpen call-up Jose Ramirez looked good in a scoreless 1 1/3 of relief …
MEMORY LANE: On June 7, 2008, the Yankees outlasted the Kansas City Royals in a 12-11 slugfest at Yankee Stadium. In the top of the 9th, David DeJesus homered off Marino Rivera for an 11-10 KC lead. In the bottom of the 9th, Jorge Posada hit a dramatic solo home run of his own, and four batters later, Johnny Damon‘s line drive single to right drove in Wilson Betemit from second base for the walk-off win. Andy Pettitte started for the Yanks and was tagged for 10 earned runs over 6.2 innings. Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi also homered for the Yanks that day. ’08 was Joe Girardi‘s first year managing the club, finishing with a 89-73 record. It was only good enough for a third place in the AL East, as New York failed to reach the post-season for the first time in 15 years. It was also the final year for the old Stadium …  Since the Kansas City Royals franchise was born in 1969, 462 games have been played between the teams, with the Yankees holding a 274-186 lead in head-to-head match ups …

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