Yankees 4, Royals 8: Phelps' sixth inning struggles doom Yankees

Ed Zurga

The game was going okay, until...

Despite allowing a couple early runs, through five innings, it was looking like this was going to be a decent start for David Phelps. Then the sixth inning happened. Phelps allowed four runs in the sixth to put the Yankees in a hole they couldn't get out of, as the Royals won 8-4.

The Royals opened the game's scoring in the bottom of the second. Billy Butler led off the inning with a double and scored when Alex Gordon hit a double of his own. Salvador Perez then blooped a single into left feld, putting two on with still no one out. Lorenzo Cain then singled, scoring Gordon. After Mike Moustakas grounded into a force out at third, Alcides Escobar singled. That scored Cain. Phelps then got Nori Aoki and Omar Infante out to end the inning, but after two, it was 3-0 Royals.

After that, Phelps calmed down. Other than when he allowed two hits in the fourth, he pitched the next several innings without much trouble. But the Yankees' offense was failing to do much of anything. After managing just two hits and two walks in the first five innings, the Yankees' lineup finally got going in the sixth. With one out in the inning, Derek Jeter singled. Jacoby Ellsbury then flew out, bringing Mark Teixeira to the plate. Teixeira drew a walk to keep the inning alive. Carlos Beltran then ripped a double to left field. That scored Jeter and put runners at second and third. Yangervis Solarte then hit a ball to center. It wasn't hit that hard, but it looked like it might drop. Cain dove for it, but missed, allowing Teixiera and Beltran to score. That tied the game at three. In addition to tying the game, that hit also chased Royals' starter Danny Duffy from the game. Reliever Aaron Crow got out of the inning, but the Yankees were now back in it.

The first five innings went mostly okay for Phelps, but he got off to a bad start in the sixth. Phelps walked both Butler and Gordon, putting two on with no one out. The next batter was Perez, who took one over the left field wall to put the Royals right back up three runs. Cain then added to Phelps' misery by tripling. However, Phelps then got Moustakas to ground out for the first out of the inning. After getting Escobar to pop up, Aoki singled. That would be it for Phelps. He went 5.2 innings, allowing seven runs on ten hits and two walks. It looked somewhat promising through five, but the sixth inning doomed Phelps and put the Yankees in a big hole. Matt Daley came in and got a pop up to escape the inning. But after six innings, the Royals led 7-3.

After the Yankees went down in order in the top of the seventh, Eric Hosmer led off the bottom half with a home run off Daley. Daley then got two outs, but hit Gordon with a pitch and allowed a single to Cain. That would be the end of Daley as Jose Ramirez was brought in. Ramirez struck out Moustakas to get out of the inning. Ramirez also pitched a scoreless eighth inning, sending to the game to the ninth inning with the Yankees down 8-3.

Solarte tried to get a Yankee rally going when he led off the ninth with a double. A pinch-hitting Ichiro Suzuki added a single to put runners at the corners. Brian Roberts then grounded out, but it was enough to score Solarte. Brian McCann was sent up to pinch hit, but he could only hit a deep fly out that moved Ichiro to third. That left the game up to Brett Gardner. Gardner wound up grounding out to third, ending the game. In game two of the series, the Royals came away with an 8-4 win.

In the third game of the series, Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound for the Yankees. The Royals will send out James Shields. First pitch is at 2:10 eastern.

Box score.

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