New York (71-44) at Kansas City (48-68)

  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Sat Aug 14, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Kansas City Royals’ patience through a five-game losing streak and two rain delays was finally rewarded as they evened their series with the New York Yankees.

They hope their next win won’t be quite as elusive as the teams continue their four-game series Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.

After enduring their third losing streak of at least five games since the start of July, Kansas City (48-68) had to wait out a pair of delays that totaled two hours and 41 minutes Friday night.

But Billy Butler’s(notes) tiebreaking solo home run enabled Joakim Soria(notes) to convert his franchise-record 25th consecutive save opportunity, sealing the 4-3 win just before 1 a.m. local time.

“It wasn’t easy, but we got a win,” manager Ned Yost said. “There hasn’t been much that’s been easy for us. Soria always finds a way to get the job done.”

While still possessing the majors’ best record, New York (71-44) missed out on a chance to move three games ahead of Tampa Bay and seven above Boston in the AL East, going 3 for 15 with men in scoring position.

The Yankees also struggled in those situations in their 4-3 win in Thursday’s series opener, going 1 for 9.

“Our bats weren’t bad,” manager Joe Girardi said Friday. “We just didn’t get the hit when we needed it. We came back and tied the score and you lose on a home run that hits the foul pole. That’s baseball.”

New York is still 32-12 in its last 44 meetings with Kansas City. The Yankees have lost consecutive games only twice in that stretch - most recently on June 9 and Aug. 15, 2008.

The Royals haven’t scored more than four runs in any of their last 11 games overall, but Yuniesky Betancourt’s(notes) hot bat has been trying to change that.

The light-hitting shortstop has the third-worst on-base percentage among qualifying players in the majors, but he’s 8 for 21 with three homers in his last six games, adding two hits and two RBIs Friday.

New York’s Phil Hughes(notes) (13-5, 3.92 ERA) hopes to cool off Betancourt and avoid his first back-to-back losses this season. The right-hander pitched six strong innings Monday against Boston, but was outdueled by Red Sox ace Jon Lester(notes) in a 2-1 defeat.

The Yankees hope Hughes is emerging from a relatively rocky stretch. After going 10-1 with a 3.17 ERA in his first 13 starts, he’s 3-4 with a 5.24 ERA in his last eight outings.

Hughes has an 8.31 ERA in three career starts against Kansas City, but he beat the Royals on July 25, allowing three runs in 5 1-3 innings of the 12-6 win.

Sean O’Sullivan(notes) (1-3, 5.05) gave up two homers to Curtis Granderson(notes) and took the loss in that game. He’s set to face the Yankees for the third time in less than a month.

The right-hander limited New York to two hits in six innings of a 10-2 win as a member of the Angels on July 20, two days before he was traded to the Royals.

O’Sullivan has yet to find success with Kansas City, going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts. He lost to his former team Monday, allowing six runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-4 defeat.

“I definitely felt like I had a future (in Anaheim), but I’m happy to be where I’m at, and I’ll take it from here,” O’Sullivan said.

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Starting Pitchers

P. Hughes MIN vs. S. O'Sullivan BOS
18-8 Record 4-6
4.19 ERA 5.49
146 K 43
58 BB 31
1.25 WHIP 1.45


Saturday, Aug 14