Hughes falters early, Yankees fall 5-1 to Royals

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(NEW YORK, AP) — Phil Hughes felt cheated by the rain.

After giving up a home run to Billy Butler and an RBI double to David Lough in the second inning, the Yankees’ starter thought he got in a good groove. Then the sun shower and hail came.
“It’s tough. I felt like I really found something,” he said. “In the third and fourth innings I felt pretty good, but that’s baseball. Sometimes the weather don’t cooperate, so it was kind of a tough night.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn’t let Hughes (4-8) return after the 59-minute delay, but Kansas City’s Jeremy Guthire did and he shut down his nemesis to lead the Royals to a 5-1 victory over New York on Monday night.
The Yankees have lost two in a row after a season-best six straight wins.
All-Star Alex Gordon and Johnny Giavotella also had RBI doubles, and Alcides Escobar added a run-scoring triple to help the Royals end a five-game skid against New York.
Facing a Yankees lineup that had only four players that were with the team on opening day, Guthrie (8-6) gave up three hits over six innings that included a 59-minute delay for a sun shower-hailstorm in the fourth.
Leading 5-1, closer Greg Holland was needed in the ninth when Lyle Overbay walked and Luis Cruz singled to start the inning against Luke Hochevar. Holland gave up a hit to Chris Stewart to load the bases. But Holland struck out Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner and Zoilo Almonte to end it for his 21st save.
Guthrie twice struck out the newest member in pinstripes, Travis Ishikawa, before Overbay homered pinch hitting for the first baseman who was claimed off waivers from Baltimore on Sunday. Overbay’s 10th of the year was New York’s first long ball in six games.
“Not an easy lineup to pitch to,” Guthrie said. “Obviously they have their injuries for now and they’re missing a lot of their keys. So go out there and you try to attack them the best that you can and be aggressive.”
Entering 4-9 with a 5.15 ERA against the Yankees in 17 appearances — 15 starts — Guthrie left with runners on first and third and two outs in the seventh. Tim Collins relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Nunez to protect a 3-1 lead.
Aaron Crow relieved Collins in the eighth with two on, two out and got Vernon Wells to ground out to second.
With the sun reflecting off the windows of a building beyond center field, rain and hail sent fans scurrying for cover in the bottom of the third inning. The quick moving cloud was gone before Hughes threw his first pitch of the fourth. Hughes retired three straight with the faintest of rainbows arcing over the scoreboard, then the rain returned.
After Guthrie got an out, crew chief Dana DeMuth called for the tarp. As “Singin’ in the Rain” blared over the PA system, the grounds crew struggled to cover the increasingly muddy infield, getting stuck halfway then pulling the huge sheet off and starting again. The biggest cheer of the night — until Overbay’s homer in the seventh — came when the crew finished the job.
Guthrie returned after the delay and completed the fourth on six pitches.
“Tremendous competitor,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Guthrie. “He showed it today — to endure an hour rain delay and go out and throw at the level that he threw.”
Adam Warren replaced Hughes to start the fifth. Hughes gave up two runs and four hits in his abbreviated outing.
“He had already thrown a lot and with him coming back second, it would have been an hour-and-15-minute break for him,” Girardi said. “I wasn’t real comfortable bringing him back after an hour or so.”
Passed over for the Home Run Derby last year at the All-Star game in Kansas City by AL captain Robinson Cano, Butler sent a drive the opposite way to right field leading off the second. Fans relentlessly booed Cano at Butler’s home field during the competition last July. Captain of the AL home run team again this year, Cano again did not choose Butler — the Orioles’ Chris Davis and Detroit’s Prince Fielder were his first two picks announced Monday. But it would be hard to object this time. Butler’s long ball was only his seventh — and he’s not on the All-Star team.
An out later, Mike Moustakas lined an opposite-field double to left, and Lough made it 2-0 with a shot that landed just fair down the third base line for a double the opposite way.
Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson helped preserve the 3-0 lead in sixth when he made a diving catch of Almonte’s sinking liner in right-center with Gardner on first.
Giavotella drove in a run in the seventh, and Gordon and Escobar had back-to-back RBIs in the ninth.
NOTES: When asked if SS Derek Jeter (broken ankle) could return to the Yankees this weekend, Girardi said, “There’s always a chance. You just have to see how he does the next three or four days.” Jeter went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored in five innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday night. … The Yankees kicked off HOPE week Monday with several players visiting Rockaway Special Athletes at St. Rose of Lima School in Rockaway Beach. The gym at the group’s original home, St. Camillius-St. Virgilius Parish, was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy.