Yankees 3-4 Royals: Bullpen melts down in ninth, Kansas City walk off to avoid sweep

New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe, left, tags out Kansas City Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr., right, as he attempts to steal second base during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, June 13, 2024.
AP
Amanda Paula
Thursday June 13, 2024

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New York Yankees 3-4 Kansas City Royals

After three strong performances against the Royals, the New York Yankees suffered a 4-3 loss to Kansas City, marking the end of their four-game winning streak.

This was the first time the Royals had led in the entire series, underscoring how dominant the Yankees had been until this point.

This loss was a significant missed opportunity for the Yankees, especially as second-place Baltimore had fallen to Atlanta earlier in the day. The Yankees could have gained ground in the standings with a win. Instead, their winning streak ended at four games.

How it happened

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo scored a homer on June 12, 2024, against the Kansas City Royals
NY POST

The game started relatively uneventfully for both teams. Nestor Cortes, the Yankees’ starting pitcher, faced early trouble in the fourth inning. After issuing a four-pitch walk to Bobby Witt Jr., Cortes gave up a hit, and Vinnie Pasquantino doubled, driving in two runs and giving Kansas City a 2-0 lead. 

Despite his struggles with secondary pitches like his changeup and slider, Cortes managed to navigate through seven quality innings. He relied heavily on his four-seam fastball, which allowed him to strike out as many batters as he walked. Although his performance was commendable, it wasn’t enough to keep the Yankees in the lead.

Alec Marsh, Kansas City’s starting pitcher, was stellar on the mound, holding the Yankees hitless through six innings. His performance was particularly impressive against Aaron Judge, who went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, three of which were against Marsh.

Yankees took their first hit of the game in the seventh inning where Juan Soto led off with a single, breaking Marsh’s no-hit bid. Nevertheless, in that inning, the Yankees had their chance to win but they couldn’t do that.

The eight innings witnessed a radical shift in the game. Anthony Rizzo, who was given a rest from the previous two games, looked to have found a new lease of life. He had driven in a run the day before and went on to keep the momentum alive by hitting his eighth home run of the season, thus, the Yankees managed to get to the scoreboard and reduce the deficit to 2-1. This home run generated excitement and grit from the Yankees’ lineup.

In the wake of Rizzo’s homer, Austin Wells was initially said to have gotten a hit but later it was corrected that he reached base on an error done by second baseman Garrett Hampson. This error caused the Yankees to retain the momentum. With two runners on base, Anthony Volpe managed to score a productive ground out that helped Wells tie the game at 2-2. Juan Soto also accepted the responsibility of getting a hit and that was in turn, giving the Yankees a lead of 3-2.

The Yankees chose to use Clay Holmes on the pitcher’s mount in the ninth inning. In the first game of the series, Holmes revealed his initial appearance. The sinker dominant behavior facing by him caused him to experience some problems to escape weak contact and put ground balls to induce strikeouts instead of line drive hits. This plan was not turned out as expected since every Kansas City Royals hitter played the ball. Holmes struck out two batters but at the same he gave up two safe hits.

The climax was when Drew Waters sent a grounder. Clay Holmes was in a mix-up with Anthony Rizzo, and this resulted in an incident that enabled Waters to be on base. This blunder became the cause of the Royals to make a comeback. Kyle Isbel, the last batter in the batting order, who, however, was 0-2 behind, made a full count three balls before getting a single on which runners advanced while Maikel Garcia’s fly-out turned into a two-run RBI by single down the left-field line. The winning run was delivered thereby ensuring a walk-off 4-3 victory for Kansas City over the New York Yankees.

They must have been heartbroken when they heard that news. Yankees have lost a game, but they might have won the game if they had a little more power despite not very much here. 

Roster

The Yankees hitting rotation

Up next

Looking ahead, the Yankees will focus on their upcoming series against the Boston Red Sox. The first game of this traditional rivalry has been rescheduled to a 6:30 PM Eastern start. Luis Gil is set to take the mound, offering the Yankees a chance to bounce back and regain momentum.

Despite the disappointment of this loss, the Yankees have shown resilience throughout the season. Fans will be eager to see how they respond against their historic rivals, hoping to put the tough loss behind them and continue their pursuit of success in the AL East.

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