KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WFAN/AP) — Robinson Cano hit his eighth career grand slam, Alex Rodriguez added a three-run shot and the New York Yankees roughed up Luke Hochevar in a 10-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
Nick Swisher added a homer in his return to the starting lineup, helping the Yankees to a four-game split.
The series began with a freak, season-ending injury to All-Star closer Mariano Rivera, but ended with the Yankees’ best offensive output in a dozen games.
Before Cano came to the plate, the Yankees already built a comfortable lead through RBI singles by Raul Ibanez and Curtis Granderson when Cano came to the plate with the bases loaded in the third inning. He connected on a 2-1 pitch from Hochevar, sending the ball over the wall in right field for his second homer of the season.
Swisher added a solo shot two batters later, and A-Rod’s homer came in the eighth.
That was plenty of support for Phil Hughes, who went a season-high 6 2-3 innings. It was only the second time the right-hander had allowed fewer than four runs this season. His record now stands at 2-4.
The Royals had nine hits but couldn’t put them together for a big inning.
Billy Butler provided an RBI double in the first, Alex Gordon added a run-scoring single in the fifth, and Humberto Quintero snapped a 0-for-18 skid with a solo homer in the seventh. Jarrod Dyson tacked on an RBI single in the ninth.
The Yankees had been having similar troubles lately. They scored a combined 11 runs over the past five games, their worst stretch since June 2009, and were coming off a game in which Derek Jeter, Cano, Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira combined to go 1 for 15 at the plate.
They didn’t have much problem against Hochevar.
The Royals’ former No. 1 overall draft pick was battered for the second straight start, his ERA soaring to 9.00 on the season. He was yanked after 2 1-3 innings, and has allowed 16 runs and 19 hits with four walks and a hit batter his past two starts.
Hochevar got in trouble right from the opening pitch, giving up a leadoff single to Jeter, who reached base four times on the afternoon. But the Yankees didn’t really capitalize until the third inning, when their bats finally awoke with a vengeance.
No. 9 hitter Dewayne Wise started a string of three straight base hits, and Granderson’s RBI single was the 1,000th hit of his career. Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to the load the bases for Cano, who delivered his first grand slam since last September against Baltimore.
Swisher, who had the Yankees’ other slam this season, chased Hochevar when he sent a 1-2 pitch into the seats in right two batters later. Swisher had been out since hurting his hamstring last Sunday against Detroit, but looked just fine trotting around the bases at Kauffman Stadium.
Irving Falu provided the Royals with a rare bright spot.
Falu had spent more than nine years and 949 games in the minor leagues before getting his first major league start at shortstop. He tripled in his first at-bat, and then added a single in the fifth inning, coming around to score on Gordon’s base hit.
Notes: Andy Pettitte pitched five innings and allowed five runs, three earned, on eight hits Sunday for the Empire Yankees, the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. Pettitte could join the major league roster this week. … New York is off Monday before starting a six-game homestand against Tampa Bay. … LHP Jonathan Sanchez starts for Kansas City on Monday night against Boston.
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