KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)Gerrit Cole pitched six sharp innings, the Yankees resorted to manufacturing runs against sloppy Kansas City pitching, and New York went beat the Royals 3-0 Saturday night for its eighth straight win.
Cole (2-0) allowed five hits and two walks while striking out six in another dominant start at Kauffman Stadium. The Cy Young runner-up a year ago has allowed only two earned runs in 21 1/3 innings in the pitcher-friendly ballpark.
Aroldis Chapman worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save, helping the Yankees improve to 15-6 – just the fifth time since 1959 that the 27-time World Series champions have won at least 15 of their first 21 games.
Normally a power-hitting team, the Yankees saw Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa manage sacrifice flies off Carlos Hernandez (0-1). New York had 18 homers in its previous seven games.
Hernandez walked five of the first 15 batters he faced and, at one point, had thrown more balls (37) than strikes (36). But the right-hander limited the damage against a lineup that loves to inflict it.
Hernandez worked around a walk in the first, then loaded the bases with nobody out in the second but allowed just one run thanks to a double play and a groundout. Hernandez loaded them again with one out in the third, gave up a sacrifice fly, then watched Salvador Perez throw out Anthony Rizzo at third base to end the inning.
The Yankees also drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and scored on another sacrifice fly, giving them a 3-0 lead.
With Cole on the mound, that’s usually enough.
He would have set down the first eight batters he faced if not for Kiner-Falefa’s miscue at shortstop, ending the Yankees’ 13-game errorless streak. Cole’s command escaped him briefly in the third, but he got Nicky Lopez to fly out to leave the bases loaded. And in the fourth, Cole froze Bobby Witt Jr. and Kyle Isbel to strand runners on second and third.
Miguel Castro and Clay Holmes each pitched a scoreless inning before Chapman finished things off.
JUDGE ME NOT
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge got his scheduled day off Saturday, even though he’s hit three homers in his last four games and five in his last seven. Judge also has hit safely in nine of his last 10 with 12 RBIs over that span.
”It’s always hard to have him out,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, ”but I was going to be pretty disciplined about it with another day game (Sunday) after a night game and then going to the turf in Toronto.”
The Royals debuted their ”City Connect Series” jerseys featuring art deco-inspired graphics, a nod to the crown of Kauffman Stadium and the fountains of Kansas City, and the deep blue color that the team wore in the 1970s and ’80s.
Yankees: C Ben Rortvedt (right oblique) had a recent exam that showed no trace of the strain he sustained in February, though his return date is still unclear. ”He’s doing well and over the injury now,” Boone said.
Royals: LHP Jake Brentz went on the injured list Saturday with a left flexor strain. RHP Matt Peacock, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks last Sunday, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to replace him.
RHP Luis Severino (2-0, 3.32) is up for the Yankees and LHP Daniel Lynch (2-1, 3.38) for the Royals in Sunday’s finale.
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