KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Royals manager Ned Yost has preached patience with his talented young hitters.
Now he's doing the same with Wade Davis.
One of the two starting pitchers acquired by the Royals in an offseason trade, Davis has yet to find solid footing in Kansas City. The right-hander struggled again Friday night in the series opener against the New York Yankees, failing to get through the sixth inning in an 11-6 loss.
``They did a lot of damage on pitches up. Wade struggled to command the ball down,' Yost said. ``We'll just keeping working through it. We've seen our hitters struggle and we kept working through it, and now they're coming back. We'll do the same thing with our pitchers.'
Davis (2-3) arrived in Kansas City along with James Shields from the Tampa Bay Rays in an eyebrow-raising deal that sent some of the Royals' top prospects to Florida.
Many believe that if Davis pans out as a starter, the Royals will have come out on the better end of the trade - yet so far, he's struggled to make that happen. Davis dropped to 0-2 in his last four starts as his ERA climbed to 5.86 on the season.
``I made it look a lot harder than it should,' he said. ``When you don't command your pitches you can make anybody look a lot better. I didn't execute my pitches.'
The result was the Royals' fourth loss in their last five games.
Lyle Overbay had a career-best four hits, including a two-run homer, and finished with five RBIs. Ichiro Suzuki also hit a two-run shot and Chris Nelson drove in a pair of runs for the Yankees, who gave manager Joe Girardi his 500th win in pinstripes.
Girardi reached the milestone in his 844th game, one fewer than Billy Martin. The only Yankees managers to reach the mark faster were Casey Stengel, Joe McCarthy, Joe Torre and Miller Huggins.
``I've been blessed to have this opportunity,' Girardi said. ``As a child you dream about playing in the big leagues, and I don't know if you dream about managing, but as I got older, it's something I really wanted to do, and I got a great opportunity.'
Phil Hughes (2-2) allowed six runs in 5 2-3 innings but still earned the victory, thanks to a slumbering offense that awoke against Davis and Royals reliever Bruce Chen.
``The guys stepped up big and gave me a bunch of runs,' Hughes said. ``Thankfully, I was able to bring my not-so-good game on a day we scored a lot of runs.'
Jarrod Dyson hit a three-run shot for the Royals, just the second homer of his career, and Mike Moustakas went deep in his second straight game. Alex Gordon also drove in a pair of runs.
But it wasn't enough offense to keep up with the Yankees, who scored six runs total during a three-game series in Colorado, but surpassed that amount with the first of five runs during the sixth inning Friday night that broke open what had been a tie game.
It was the first time New York scored 10 or more runs since April 9, and allowed the Yankees to improve to 20-9 since their ragged 1-4 start to the season.
``Sometimes baseball doesn't make sense, and on a night we really needed some runs, we got them,' Girardi said. ``Everyone just seemed to help out tonight.'
The Yankees came into the night with 42 homers, fifth in the majors, and wasted little time adding to the total. Suzuki followed a walk by Travis Hafner with his two-run shot in the second inning, and Overbay followed a double by Jayson Nix with his two-run homer.
The Royals got most of their deficit back on Dyson's three-run shot in the bottom of the second. It was his first home run since Sept. 27, 2010, a span of 376 at_bats.
``He came in most of the time. I got my foot down on it and I was just trying to square him up. I barreled it up,' Dyson said. ``It was a big hit at the time.'
Davis ran into more trouble in the fourth, though, when Nix walked and Overbay drove him in with a double to make it 5-3. But the Royals answered again in the fifth, tying the game on a two-run double by Gordon, who has become the Royals' most reliable hitter.
The Yankees finally took control in the sixth inning.
Suzuki doubled and Nix singled to set up Overbay, who delivered his second double of the night. Nelson added a two-run single, and after Chris Stewart grounded into a fielder's choice, Brett Gardner's RBI triple and Robinson Cano's run-scoring single gave New York a 10-5 lead.
Moustakas added his solo homer in the sixth, but Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley retired the next seven Royals batters - six of them by strikeout. Boone Logan finished up a quiet ninth to preserve the Yankees' third straight win.
Notes: Royals DH Billy Butler went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .236. ... Nix reached base four times. ... Royals RF Lorenzo Cain got hit on his left wrist by a pitch in the third inning but stayed in the game. ... Shields starts Saturday against New York LHP Andy Pettitte.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved