NEW YORK -- The Royals have been waiting patiently for infielder Hunter Dozier, presumably a part of the team's rebuild, to snap out of a dreadful slump.There were signs of that on Sunday in the Royals' 6-3 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Royals lost three of four
NEW YORK -- The Royals have been waiting patiently for infielder Hunter Dozier, presumably a part of the team's rebuild, to snap out of a dreadful slump.
There were signs of that on Sunday in the Royals' 6-3 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Royals lost three of four in the series.
Dozier, the team's top Draft pick in 2013, entered the game 9-for-57 since June 29 (.158). After he nearly homered in the second inning, sending a drive deep into the right-field corner that was caught, he walked in the fourth before hitting a home run, his fifth, to right-center in the seventh. It was his first home run since June 23 at Houston.
"I think the reason I've been flaring balls is that my timing is off," Dozier said. "I'm late. We've been working on better timing lately. Today I wasn't trying to drive it over there. I was just trying to go middle and stay on time. The second one, I put a better swing on it."
Rosell Herrera homered in the eighth inning, his first Major League four-bagger.
Right-hander Burch Smith, a Rule 5 Draft acquisition, was the third straight Royals rookie to make his first appearance at Yankee Stadium. And like Brad Keller and Heath Fillmyer before him, he struggled with his command.
Smith walked three and gave up five hits and five runs over four-plus innings. He threw 90 pitches, 60 for strikes.
"Before we came here, we talked about how our young pitchers would respond to pitching here," manager Ned Yost said. "And for the most part, they did all right as a group. We didn't throw nearly enough strikes. But I thought they all competed well. All in all, you look at it and was it great? No. Was it OK? Yeah, it was OK. I was encouraged."
Smith gave up a two-run home run to Aaron Hicks on a curveball in the first inning. Hicks also doubled and scored in the fourth.
"They were too hittable," Smith said. "I didn't have that pitch, as well as much of anything else."
Red-hot catcher Salvador Perez hit his 18th home run of the season in the sixth. Perez has hit in seven straight games, with seven home runs in his last 16.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
New outfielder Brett Phillips, the team's No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, showed some excellent defense in the fourth inning. With two on and two out, New York's Austin Romine sent a drive toward the wall in right-center. Phillips leaped at the last moment and took away an extra-base hit, possibly a homer.
• Get to know Brett Phillips
"Honestly, I put my head down to run right off the bat," Phillips said, "and then picked it up again and realized that it wasn't hit as hard as I thought it was initially. So that's when I felt like I gave myself some room to jump."
Told that replays seemed to indicate he had his eyes closed as he was trying to make the catch, Phillips smiled and said, "Did I? That's impressive."
Romine, of course, wasn't all that amused.
"It [stinks] that it didn't go out," Romine said. "That would've given us a couple more runs. But the guy made a good play. I'm going to hate it now and move on from it when I leave here, but it definitely [stinks] a little."
HE SAID IT
"I let him know that he's got a mile per hour on me on Statcast™ [velocity], so I let him know I've got to take advantage of every opportunity possible, even if he wasn't running, to let him know that I'm coming for him." -- Phillips, on what he and Hicks were laughing about after Phillips threw a rocket to third to prevent Hicks from advancing a base in the fourth inning
After an off-day in Chicago on Monday, the Royals will begin a three-game series with the White Sox on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT with left-hander Danny Duffy (6-9, 4.70 ERA) taking the mound. Former Royals right-hander James Shields (4-12, 4.53 ERA) will start for the White Sox. Duffy will be making his 23rd start, which will tie him for the Major League lead. Duffy gave up seven runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings on Wednesday against Detroit.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.