The Yankees didn’t exactly break out at the plate, didn’t exactly cure their RISP ills. They did enough to win 3-2 over Kansas City, snap a three-game skid and move out of their last-place time share with Boston.
But they managed just six hits and had two big strikeouts with the bases loaded.
After going 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position, only one good for an RBI, the Yankees are 8 for their last 79 in these spots.
“Our pitching staff has done a good job,” said Derek Jeter, who delivered that RBI. “We can’t put so much pressure on them where they really have to be perfect.”
Phil Hughes’ take? “We have to ride this slow little pace we’re going through right now,” Hughes said. “Us as pitchers have to step up and do a good job.”
Hughes did a good job for the fourth straight start, moving to 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in this stretch.
“I think it’s more of a mentality thing, going out there more aggressive,” Hughes said. “I knew my stuff was there. I just had to not be so tentative and afraid to make mistakes and just go right after guys.”
This time, he allowed the two runs, five hits and two walks over six. He fanned seven. Seventy-four of his 106 pitches went for strikes.
“I think it was more a case of Phil Hughes pitching extremely well more than our offense not producing,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Alex Rodriguez, who fanned in the fifth with those bases loaded as did Raul Ibanez, sees good things ahead for the Yankees after stopping their slide.
“I feel this team is ready to go on a good hot streak,” A-Rod said. “The first one is always hard. Hopefully we’ll get another one tomorrow. And then the west coast. Probably the best thing that could happen to this team right now is a change of scenery.”
The Yankees are now up to 2-16 when they score three runs or less.
They are up to 22-11 when they launch at least one homer (0-10 without one).
Jeter’s fifth-inning RBI single snapped the Yankees’ 0-for -2 streak with the bases loaded.
Robinson Cano, who homered in the fourth, has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games, batting .365 with four homers and 13 RBI in that span. He’s at .400 for his last 14 games.
Rafael Soriano had to sweat out his third save in three tries. It was his 400th career appearance.
The pitching matchup for the series finale will be Andy Pettitte vs. Luis Mendoza.