NEW YORK (AP) — With every out the New York Yankees made and every run they gave up, the boos from the sparse crowd got louder.
New York’s 6-0 defeat to the Kansas City Royals on a misty, dreary Monday night was the Yankees’ sixth loss in seven games, dropping them into last place in the AL East this late in the season for the first time since 2008.
“At times, it looks like there’s 20 people out there playing defense,” Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. “It happens every year. It happens to every team. It doesn’t look good when you’re going through it, but you’ve got to have confidence.”
Felipe Paulino blanked New York for the second time in a month, and Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur hit two-run homers.
New York’s bats fizzled once again, going 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position with five strikeouts and a foulout — the Yankees’ most hitless at-bats with RISP since July 1990. Jeered repeatedly by their increasingly impatient fans, the Yankees dropped to 21-21, their worst record at this point in the season since they started 20-25 in 2008 — the only time since 1994 that New York failed to make the playoffs. They’re tied with Boston for the division cellar.
“You’re going to hear it on the road, and you’re going to hear it at home when you don’t play well,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s because our fans are passionate and they want us to win. And I understand that. So do the guys in that room. If they’re unhappy with us, believe me, we’re probably unhappier.”
New York stranded runners at the corners in the first, then wasted a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third when Robinson Cano took a slider for a called third strike, Alex Rodriguez struck out swinging on a fastball and Raul Ibanez flied out to the left-field warning track. The Yankees stranded runners at third in the fourth and sixth innings, left two on in the seventh and another in the ninth,
New York is 7 for 37 (.189) with the bases loaded this season and .222 with runners in scoring position, including 6 for 72 (.083) in its last nine games. The Yankees are 0-10 when they fail to hit a home run.
“It’s very frustrating,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve talked about it over and over again. You can’t really describe it. It’s not a lot of fun obviously going out and not getting the job done. But at this point, nobody’s going to feel sorry for us.”
Hideki Kuroda (3-6) allowed three runs, seven hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings, failing to retire the side in order in an inning and raising his ERA to 4.56. After adding Andy Pettitte to the rotation and sending Garcia to the bullpen, pressure may increase on New York to make another move, such as signing free agent Roy Oswalt.
Paulino (2-1) became the first starter to pitch shutout ball against the Yankees in consecutive outings since Boston’s Josh Beckett on April 10 and May 14 last year, according to STATS LLC. Following up on his six innings of four-hit ball on May 5, Paulino allowed six hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out eight and walked two.
“Bases loaded, nobody out against the meat of their order and got through it. A runner on third, one out and got through it. So, he’s pitching really, really well,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Kansas City opened a nine-game trip by beating the Yankees for the third time in five meetings this year, and Yost got his 600th win as a manager — earning a beer shower from his players.
Batting cleanup for the first time in his big league career, Moustakas homered in the first inning with a drive that clanked high off the right-field foul pole.
“It’s really cool,” Moustakas said. “Coming into this park, you know all the history behind old Yankee Stadium and the kind of things they brought. Just to play in this stadium is awesome.”
Eric Hosmer added an RBI double in the third, and Francoeur homered into the visitor’s bullpen in the seventh on Freddy Garcia’s second pitch of the night.
In a sign of the Yankees’ frustration, Garcia threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth, then spiked the ball in disgust. In the sixth, Mark Teixeira put both hands on his head incredulously after throwing late to third on Irving Falu’s grounder instead of taking the sure out at first.
By the time Jeter hit a game-ending lineout, completing a seven-hitter, only a few thousand fans remained.
“We have a lot of baseball to be played,” Rodriguez said.
But as Yogi Berra famously said, it gets late early.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of frustration in here,” A-Rod said. “We know we’re capable of doing a lot more, and I think we will. Tomorrow would be a great day to start.”
Notes: The Yankees were 0 for 14 RISP on July 6, 1990, in a 2-0, 12-inning loss to Minnesota in a doubleheader opener — when Andy Hawkins pitched 11 shutout innings and lost in the 12th. … After missing three starts because of a bronchial illness, Teixeira was dropped as low as seventh in the batting order for the first time since May 2004 and went 1 for 4 with a ninth-inning double. … Kansas City 2B Chris Getz left in the fifth after aggravating a bruised rib on his left side. He was tagged out at second in the fourth inning trying to stretch a single. … Rodriguez hit his 500th double. … Kansas City has three shutouts. … The Yankees were blanked for the fourth time. … New York’s Phil Hughes (3-5) starts against Luke Hochevar (3-4) on Tuesday.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)