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Yankees 5, Royals 2: Yankees bullpen their way to series win

Six pitchers and a solid showing from the offense combined to give the Yankees a series win in KC.

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

After the zaniness of the last two games, the Yankees had to get a little weird with their pitching for the series finale against the Royals. Somewhat low on options, they gave the ball to Lucas Luetge for an opener-ish slot in what was to be his first ever Major League start. What was to happen after that was anyone’s guess.

However, the pitching in this game ended up being a positive for the Yankees. Six pitchers combined to allow just two runs on seven hits, and they threw shutout ball during the last four innings. The Yankees’ offense gave them enough early support, as they picked up a series win and a 5-2 victory over the Royals to wrap up the three-game set in Kansas City.

With the bottom of the lineup and the pitching situation the way they were, the top of the Yankees’ lineup at least got off to a fast start in the first. Royals starter Brady Singer dealt with some control issues in the first, issuing two walks in the first four batters. Combined with an Aaron Judge single, that loaded the bases for Luke Voit. The first basemen delivered with a single, scoring two runs. Rougned Odor then added another single, plating a third run.

The Royals were able to get a run back off Luetge in the home half of the first. Whit Merrifield led off the game for Kansas City with a single and stole second in the next at-bat. After a wild pitch moved him over to third, Merrifield scored on a groundout to get the Royals on the board.

The Yankees missed out on chances to add to their cushion in the second and third, before breaking through again in the fourth. Tyler Wade started the inning off with a double and then stole third shortly after that. DJ LeMahieu then added a single, making three times in three plate appearances on the day that he reached base. Brett Gardner and Judge then notched base hits of their own, the second of which scored LeMahieu to give the Yankees another run.

Albert Abreu had replaced Luetge back after the second inning, and he threw two solid frames before coming back out for a third. Cam Gallagher led off the fifth against him with a double, and then moved to third after a fly out on a diving catch by Wade (which probably didn’t need to be a diving one). That would be the end of Abreu’s day, as Joely Rodríguez was brought in to replace him.

Rodríguez got a grounder against the first batter he faced. Andrew Velazquez had no play at home, but he bobbled the ball, leading to there being no play at first, either. That cut the lead to three runs, but the error didn’t end up costing the Yankees further, as Rodríguez then managed to induce a double play.

The Yankees’ offense didn’t tack any more runs onto their total, but they did threaten a couple times. They also got a very notable performance from Wade, who finished the day by going 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, and two stolen bases. He’s quietly been doing his part lately, going 9-for-14 with a .667 OBP since the trade deadline — much-needed production with fellow infielders Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela on the shelf.

The combination of Rodríguez, Chad Green for two innings, and Jonathan Loaisiga for the eighth gradually passed the baton to Zack Britton, hoping to close out the series and make up for his blown save on Monday. After hitting a batter, Britton then induced a grounder and a force out, and then another grounder that looked like it should be a game-ending double play. However, Odor botched the toss to second for the first out, and everybody ended up being safe. Luckily, that didn’t come back to haunt them. Britton got another grounder in the next at-bat, and that one to Wade at third was correctly turned into a double play to finish off the win.

Mark that up as the Yankees’ ninth series win in their last ten attempts. They’re 21-10 over the course of that stretch, even while losing players left and right — including reliever Clay Holmes earlier today — to either the COVID-IL or the standard injured list.

After what turned out to be a very weird three-game set, the Yankees will now go play a game in the very normal setting of a corn field. Andrew Heaney will get the start against Lance Lynn of the White Sox tomorrow night at 7pm ET, live from Dyersville, IA.

Box Score