KANSAS CITY -- Simply too much Sonny Gray.The Yankees' right-hander, who came into the game with a 6.39 ERA, suddenly found his slider and overmatched the Royals in a 10-1 victory in the rubber game on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.The Royals didn't have a baserunner until two outs in the
KANSAS CITY -- Simply too much Sonny Gray.
The Yankees' right-hander, who came into the game with a 6.39 ERA, suddenly found his slider and overmatched the Royals in a 10-1 victory in the rubber game on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals didn't have a baserunner until two outs in the fifth when Hunter Dozier went after a slider and floated a soft single to center.
"His curveball and slider were working really well," Dozier said. "They're both good pitches, and when he's throwing them for strikes, that makes it tough."
Gray retired 18 of the first 19 batters he faced. He went eight innings and permitted four hits and one run.
Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund endured his worst start of the season, going five innings and giving up eight hits and six runs.
Skoglund breezed through three scoreless innings before running into trouble in the fourth. Skoglund left a four-seam fastball up to Christopher Austin, who belted a two-run homer.
Austin hurt Skoglund again in the fifth with another two-run home run, again on a four-seam fastball, this one on an 0-2 pitch.
"Second home run, I missed, it was supposed to be up," Skoglund said. "That's a pretty good lineup. I don't want to give them too much credit. I think I just have to keep learning and I think I'll be all right. I know I'll be all right."
Royals manager Ned Yost said he continues to view Skoglund's starts as learning experiences.
"I think it's all good experiences," Yost said. "I think that the positives that he can look back on and say 'OK, I need to continue that,' and then the negatives, 'OK, I need to make adjustments here.' And a lot of it, again, is just command. A lot of it is aggressiveness. A lot of it is staying on the attack, and pitching aggressively in, and then moving back out.
"He did a great job in the first three innings with their big hitters. He did a really, really good job of keeping them off-balance. He was buzzing the ball in on them, and then started to lose command a little bit in the fourth and the fifth."
Jonathan Jay spoiled the shutout bid with an RBI single in the eighth.
Gray came into Sunday's game having not induced a double play all season. That ended when Salvador Perez grounded into his team-leading eighth in the seventh. The Royals lead the Major Leagues in hitting into double plays with 49.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Royals came within an eyelash of turning an around-the-horn triple play in the second inning. Austin was hit by a pitch from Skoglund leading off and Miguel Andujar singled. Austin Romine then hit a hard grounder to third baseman Mike Moustakas, who took a few steps back after fielding it and stepped on the bag. Moustakas fired to second baseman Whit Merrifield for the double play, and Merrifield's throw to first just missed getting Romine.
"I thought we had a chance," Yost said. "I wanted to see that. I've never managed a triple play before."
Right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-4, 4.98 ERA) will take the mound at 7:15 p.m. CT on Monday as the Royals take on the Cardinals in the I-70 Series opener at Busch Stadium. Righty Miles Mikolas (5-0, 2.63) will start for St. Louis. Kennedy is winless over his previous seven starts and has a 6.43 ERA over that span.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.