Yankees: Good news and bad news from 4-3 walk-off loss to Royals

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the eighth inning down 2–0 and collecting just one hit against Kansas City Royals starter Alec March, the New York Yankees staged a late-game rally to take a 3–2 lead. The inning ignited with Anthony Rizzo’s homer to right field, which just cleared the fence, aided by a windy day that nudged the ball a few extra feet.

Yankees’ Late Rally Not Enough in Kansas City

The momentum continued as catcher Austin Wells reached base due to an error by Royals’ second baseman Garrett Hampson. Shortly thereafter, reserve outfielder Trent Grisham singled to right field, and Anthony Volpe grounded out to third base, but not before driving in a crucial run. Star slugger Juan Soto followed with a single to right, giving the Yankees a slender lead.

A Disappointing Turn and Pitching Efforts

Despite their efforts, the Yankees were unable to secure the win (4-3). In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Royals executed effective small-ball tactics, ultimately scoring two runs to reclaim the lead. Lead-off hitter Maikel Garcia doubled to left field, driving in the decisive runs, walking it off.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

This turn of events was particularly disheartening as the Yankees had struggled offensively for the majority of the game, going hitless for the first seven innings. Although they had managed to capture the lead briefly, they ended up squandering it, missing the chance to sweep the four-game series. Despite the loss, the Yankees still boast the best record in baseball with a .690 winning percentage and maintain a 2.5-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.

On the mound, Nestor Cortes faced some challenges but managed to deliver a solid performance, giving up two runs and striking out two batters across 88 pitches. With an ERA of 3.59, Cortes currently holds the highest among the Yankees’ starting pitchers, though it remains a respectable figure.

The Yankees’ rotation is poised for a significant boost with Cole’s anticipated return in the coming weeks and Clarke Schmidt’s recovery from a right lat injury. There’s a possibility that Cortes may transition to a bullpen role once the rotation is at full strength.

Looking ahead, the Yankees aim to move past this defeat and focus on their upcoming three-game series in Boston, which starts Friday night at 6:30 PM with Luis Gil slated as the starting pitcher.

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