Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) – Billy Butler’s fifth-inning home run right before the rains came proved to be the game-winner, as the Kansas City Royals evened their four-game series with the New York Yankees with a 4-3 win.
Butler’s 11th home run of the season off the foul pole in right field helped the Royals snap a five-game losing streak. Yuniesky Betancourt drove in two runs with a double in a three-run second inning.
The rain cut Kyle Davies’ start short after five innings. Despite the weather delay, Davies (6-7) improved to 3-0 lifetime against the Yankees after allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out four.
Joakim Soria locked down his 32nd save with a scoreless ninth and 25th consecutive, setting a new team record.
“He’s just unflappable,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It doesn’t matter what happens. He just always finds a way in the end to get the job done.”
The game lasted over five hours, thanks to two delays that totaled 2 hours, 41 minutes. The first delay was only 31 minutes, but the second paused the game in the middle of the fifth for more than two hours.
Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Lance Berkman each drove in a run for the Yankees, who have lost three of five. Dustin Moseley (2-2) also had his start cut short by the rain and allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks in 4 1/3 frames.
In the fifth, with the game tied, 3-3, Butler lined a home run off the right field foul pole, putting the Royals ahead.
The rains came shortly thereafter, pausing the game for over two hours.
“It was just a fastball that was kind of up in the middle of plate and came back,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It hit the foul pole and there’s nothing you can do about that. It was just kind of a weird night.”
When play resumed, the Yankees threatened several times.
With Jesse Chavez pitching the sixth, New York put runners at second and third with two outs, but Curtis Granderson grounded out to shortstop to maintain the one-run margin.
Chavez tossed a perfect seventh before giving way to Blake Wood in the eighth. Jorge Posada reached when Wilson Betemit couldn’t field a ground ball at third, and Posada was replaced by pinch-runner Ramiro Pena. With one out, Pena looked to be picked off by Wood, but evaded a tag at second base to escape the rundown.
Wood, though, managed to strike out Nick Swisher and induce a groundout from Brett Gardner to keep Kansas City ahead.
The Yankees nearly tied the game off Soria in the ninth. Derek Jeter singled leading off and moved to third on a two-out base hit by Rodriguez. Cano, however, grounded out weakly to end the game.
The Royals opened the scoring with three runs in the second, although the Yankees answered immediately and tied the game in the third.
Mike Aviles singled for Kansas City with one out, and Mitch Maier drew a walk one batter later. Both runners raced around to score on a double by Yuniesky Betancourt, who eventually scored on Jason Kendall’s sacrifice fly.
Curtis Granderson got the Yankees started with a one-out single in the third, and Mark Teixeira followed with a double to right. Granderson scored on Rodriguez’s infield hit, and Cano followed with an RBI single for a 3-2 game.
Two batters later, with runners on the corners and two outs, Berkman sent a run-scoring double to right to tie the game. Austin Kearns struck out with a chance to put New York ahead.
The Yankees still lead the season series, 4-2…New York remained two games ahead of the Rays in the AL East after Tampa Bay lost to Baltimore…Royals outfielder Gregor Blanco returned after leaving Thursday’s game with dizzy spells and went 2-for-4…Soria beat Jeff Montgomery’s old record, which was set in 1993.