Royals 5, Yankees 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Buddy Bell was awake at 4 a.m., introduced as Kansas City’s manager at 2 p.m., and spent three exhausting, tension-filled hours directing his new team against the New York Yankees.
By the time the last out was made in the Royals’ 5-3 victory Tuesday night, Bell looked almost bleary-eyed. But the adrenaline was still kicking in.
“I feel great right now,” the 53-year-old Bell said. “I forgot how much you have to pay attention. I loved it, man. Right now, I feel whatever it feels like to run a marathon … I probably feel close to it.”
Bell, who last managed at Colorado in April 2002, was not the only one with something to celebrate. The Royals snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the Yankees for just the second time in 10 tries, and run-starved Zack Greinke (1-6) went five innings for his first win in 15 starts.
“Everything turned out good,” Bell said. “The lack of sleep was worth it.”
Bell, who had been working as Cleveland’s bench coach, discovered he missed managing more than he’d realized.
“I think so. It was the first time in a while I didn’t have to do something to get my heart started,” he said. “It did it on its own. I’m sure I’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight.”
Matt Stairs and Emil Brown each collected two hits against the Yankees, who have lost three in a row. They were under the direction of bench coach Joe Girardi while Joe Torre served a one-game suspension.
The Yankees have totaled just six runs during their losing streak.
“We hit some balls hard early and they made some pretty good defensive plays,” Girardi said. “We gave them a couple of runs and we kind of took one away from ourselves and that was the difference in the game.”
The Yankees, who had won six straight series openers, got the first two batters on base in the seventh. But Tony Womack’s grounder forced Derek Jeter at second and Mike Wood picked Womack off first. Reliever Andrew Sisco then retired pinch-hitter Gary Sheffield on a deep fly to center.
“You want to say it’s never going to happen, but it happens at times,” Girardi said off Womack getting picked off by a right-hander. “The guy has a good move. That was difficult.”
Womack’s mistake probably cost New York at least one run.
“He was quick, but I still can’t get picked off there,” Womack said. “I got picked off. That’s all there is to it.”
Womack had never seen Wood, a rookie.
“Out of the corner of my eye I saw he was comfortable,” Wood said. “He had a big lead and he had never seen me before, which is to my advantage. And I gave him my good move right off the bat.”
Kevin Brown (4-5) lost for the first time in five decisions as the major league-worst Royals (14-37) won a series opener for just the fourth time in 18 tries.
Despite the win, the Royals have the same record after 51 games that the New York Mets had en route to losing a major league-record 120 games in 1962.
Greinke, winless since beating Detroit last Sept. 9, was removed after the fifth inning with a 5-3 lead. The right-hander, who had averaged only one run of support in his 10 starts, gave up three hits, including Hideki Matsui’s two-run homer. He walked three and struck out two.
Mike MacDougal pitched the ninth for his third save in five opportunities.
Matsui snapped a career-worst span of 180 homerless at-bats when he hit Greinke’s pitch 416 feet over the fence in right, putting the Yankees ahead 2-0 in the second.
Gotay walked with one out in the fourth and eventually scored on a throwing error by second baseman Robinson Cano for a 4-3 lead.
Stairs doubled leading off the fifth and Long’s sacrifice fly made it 5-3.
“Just talking to some guys around the team, (Bell) was the person they had some really good things to say about,” Greinke said. “People who have played for him or just knew him somehow said he’s going to be perfect for us. I don’t know if that’s what the fans’ main guy was. But just about everybody I’ve talked to, that was the guy they wanted.”
The Yankees are beginning a 12-game road trip, their longest in two years, going to Kansas City, Minnesota, Milwaukee and St. Louis. … The Royals purchased the contract of outfielder Shane Costa on Tuesday and designated outfielder Eli Marrero for assignment. … Williams drew his 1,000th career walk in the second inning. … David DeJesus made a terrific catch of Jeter’s drive to deep center leading off the game, leaping to get the ball at the top of the fence.