On Sunday against Boston, Vazquez worked on three days’ rest for just the second time in his career. The right-hander had a solid outing, yielding just two runs and four hits over six innings, but the Yankees were unable to muster any offense against Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox’s bullpen in a 2-0 loss.
Vazquez struck out a season-high eight and walked only one, but hung an 0-2 breaking pitch to Manny Ramirez that went for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, providing Boston with all the offense it would need.
“I knew coming in that when you go against a pitcher like Pedro, you have to be at the top of your game,” Vazquez said. “I’m going to win some games 10-6 and lose some others 2-0. I just have to go out and do the best I can.”
Thus far, Vazquez has yielded two runs or fewer in three of his first four starts. He also has 24 strikeouts against only six walks. His 2.63 ERA is tops among Yankees starters.
The Yankees completed their first three-game winning streak of the season by sweeping the Oakland Athletics. On Thursday, Derek Jeter snapped his career-worst 0-for-32 slump with a leadoff homer, and Bernie Williams, Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Cairo also went deep as New York won 7-5.
Jeter ended the longest slump by a Yankees player since Jimmy Wynn also went 32 at-bats without a hit in 1977.
The struggling Royals dropped two of three to Texas, including Thursday’s 9-7 setback. Kansas City led 7-6 entering the ninth, but reliever Curtis Leskanic was unable to shut the door on the surging Rangers.
It was Leskanic’s third blown save in five opportunities.
“I’m driving to the park the other day in the bright sunshine and I’m the only car with the windshield wipers on,” Leskanic said. “That’s how my day is.
“You just never think these things can happen to you. It’s just a bad month. Let’s get this one over with.”
At 7-13, the Royals are well off the surprising pace they set in April last year, when they finished the month 17-7.