KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Felipe Paulino came off the disabled list to toss six shutout innings, Billy Butler drove in three runs and the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Yankees 5-1 on Saturday night.
Paulino (1-0) retired 11 straight to start the game and did not allow a ball out of the infield until Raul Ibanez singled with one out in the fifth. Paulino gave up only four hits and walked two while striking out six in his first start of the season.
Butler doubled in the first and again in the fifth, each time driving in Alex Gordon, who matched a career high with four hits. Gordon also drove in a run with a double in the sixth.
Hiroki Kuroda (2-4) allowed two runs in the first inning, one earned, which kept up a strange trend. Nine of the 18 runs he’s given up this season have come in the first.
Russell Martin’s long homer off Jose Mijares in the seventh inning represented the only run for the Yankees, who have struggled at the plate for the better part of a week.
Derek Jeter had been swinging the hottest bat on the team, but he went 0 for 4 and left four on base while also committing an error at shortstop in the first inning. Mark Teixeira also went 0 for 4.
The Royals capitalized when Jeter misplayed a grounder by Jarrod Dyson to lead off the game. Gordon followed with a clean single to right field, and Butler delivered a scorching RBI double down the third-base line to bring home both runs.
Kansas City added another in the fifth when Gordon singled for the third straight at-bat. He was running when Butler doubled into the right-field gap, allowing him to score from first.
The Royals built a cushion for their up-and-down bullpen in the sixth.
Light-hitting Chris Getz drew a leadoff walk and Alcides Escobar followed with a base hit, putting runners on the corners. Dyson’s shallow fly to left field was enough to score Getz, and Gordon’s double moments later gave Kansas City a 5-0 lead.
The way Paulino was pitching, that should have been more than enough.
After starting the season on the DL with a strained right forearm, Paulino came out flashing a 96 mph fastball that befuddled the Yankees. He didn’t allow a baserunner until Alex Rodriguez walked with two outs in the fourth, and Paulino didn’t allow a hit until the fifth.
After working out of that trouble, he got some help from Jeff Francoeur in the sixth.
Curtis Granderson doubled to lead off the inning, but he should have known better than to run on the Royals’ right fielder. Francoeur settled under a fly ball by A-Rod and then made a pinpoint throw to punch out Granderson tagging up for third base.
It was the Francoeur’s American League-leading fifth outfield assist and the 102nd of his career. He followed up by making a sliding grab on a fly ball by Teixeira to end the inning.
NOTES: Martin finished 3 for 4. … Yankees OF Nick Swisher (hamstring) took batting practice and ran the bases before the game. Manager Joe Girardi said Swisher could play Sunday. … Royals RHP Greg Holland (ribcage) felt good after a 25-pitch bullpen session. He’s expected to start a rehab assignment Tuesday at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. … RHP Phil Hughes will pitch the series finale Sunday for New York. RHP Luke Hochevar gets the nod for the Royals.
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