Yankees takeaways from Friday’s 5-4 win over Royals, including three home runs to end New York’s four-game skid

Jul 21, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Billy McKinney (57) follows through on a three run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees used three home runs to outpace the Royals in their 5-4 win on Friday night at The Stadium.


– Since Aaron Judge’s injury (37 games) the Yankees entered Friday’s game with a 15-22 record and batting .218 and scoring 3.8 runs per game and that trend continued early in this one. The Yankees got the first two men on in the first after Oswald Peraza was hit by a pitch and Anthony Rizzo reached on after a fielder’s choice and error. Gleyber Torres would ground into a double play and Giancarlo Stanton would just miss a home run, popping out to the warning track in left field.

The Yankees couldn’t string many hits together, but all their runs came via the long ball. Franchy Cordero launched a solo shot in the second inning to give them a 1-0 lead. Billy McKinney, starting in center field for the ailing Harrison Bader, hit a three-run moonshot over the right-center field wall to give the team a 4-3 lead. Torres would get in on the fun with a solo shot of his own in the fifth to put the Yanks up 5-3.

The Yankees had five hits total and three of them were of the home run variety.

– Clarke Schmidt, who has been a stabilizing force in the Yankees’ rotation the last few weeks, continued to roll against the light-hitting Royals. He got through the first three innings on less than 30 pitches but got into trouble in the fourth. After giving up a leadoff double and hitting a batter with two outs and ahead in the count 0-2, Schmidt gave up a three-run shot to Michael Massey. Schmidt’s sweeper had too much plate and Massey made him pay.

Schmidt would get out of men-on-second-and-third trouble in the fifth thanks to poor baserunning by the Royals. The righty would find himself in trouble again in the sixth before Aaron Boone pulled him with two outs and men on the corners. Wandy Peralta would come in to get the final out of the sixth, ending Schmidt’s night.

Schmidt went just 5.2 innings (64 pitches/45 strikes) giving up three runs on five hits, one walk and striking out just two batters. The young righty just couldn’t get this pesky Royals team to bite on pitches out of the zone. After getting the first nine batters in order to start the game, Schmidt allowed seven of the next 15 batters to reach.

– With Jose Trevino out for the year with an injured wrist, Kyle Higashioka will now take the bulk of the starting catching duties starting tonight. He finished the game 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Peraza hit lead off once again but this time from second base. He finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout but did have an extra base hit taken from him by the Royals defense in the seventh. Since his call up, Peraza is 2-for-13 with five walks and eight strikeouts.

Rizzo continued his nearly two-month slump going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. A potential bloop hit was robbed by Bobby Witt Jr. in the fifth inning but he is now 3-for-30 over his last seven games.

DJ LeMahieu continues to look more comfortable at the plate. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He now has a hit in nine of his last 10 games.

– With Schmidt out early, Boone leaned on his bullpen to get through this game. With Gerrit Cole on the bump Saturday, and the off day on Thursday, the pen was rested. Peralta gave up one hit over 0.2 innings while Michael King gave up a hit of his own in his 0.2 innings of work. Tommy Kahnle started the eighth but gave up a solo shot to Massey to cut the Yankee lead to 5-4 before getting through the inning.

Clay Holmes came on in the ninth and gave up a leadoff single. After getting a pop out, Drew Waters stole second on a close play. A line out to Peraza almost doubled Waters off at second. Witt Jr. then hit a grounder to Anthony Volpe‘s right side, but the rookie grabbed the grounder and threw it to LeMahieu at third for the tag. Waters was originally called safe at third, but an umpire review reversed the call as the Yankees held on for the 5-4 win.


What’s Next

The Yankees continue their three-game series with the Royals on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m..

Gerrit Cole (9-2, 2.78 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Yanks. The Royals will send out Brady Singer (6-8, 5.70 ERA) to oppose the Yankee ace.

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