Royals squander chances in 3-1 loss to Yankees

Ned Yost doesn't want his Kansas City Royals to slow down on the basepaths, even if it means they get caught between bags once in a while.

Or twice in the same inning, for that matter.

The Royals made two costly baserunning mistakes in the third inning Tuesday night, then left the bases loaded in the seventh, squandering several good scoring opportunities in a 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees.

"These guys are all seeing the benefits of being aggressive," said Yost, whose team came into the game with 42 stolen bases already this season. "Sometimes it bites you."

Melky Cabrera hit a solo homer off Freddy Garcia (2-2), but that was all the offense Kansas City could muster before the New York bullpen took over.

David Robertson pitched out of a jam in the seventh inning and Joba Chamberlain, getting the eighth instead of Rafael Soriano, set down the Royals in order. Mariano Rivera cleaned up the ninth for his 13th save of the season and 25th straight against the Royals.

Derek Jeter had two more hits and drove in the Yankees' first run, and Alex Rodriguez — who had been 5 for 27 with runners in scoring position — added a two-run single in the fifth as the Yankees won for the eighth time in 10 home games against Kansas City.

Brett Gardner added a triple and a walk and scored both times he reached base.

All the damage came off Kyle Davies (1-5), who was lifted after five-plus innings.

"I just didn't get ahead of as many hitters as I needed to," Davies said. "They've got some veteran hitters over there who know how to work the pitcher."

It didn't help that the Royals kept wasting chances to give Davies the lead.

Their first series of mistakes came in the third inning, when Matt Treanor led off with a single. He left first base early trying to steal second and Garcia spun around to easily pick him off. Plate umpire Ed Hickox at first called the pitcher for a balk, but he was overruled by his fellow umpires and even Yost agreed that it was the correct call.

It proved costly when Chris Getz singled moments later.

Getz made the second baserunning blunder of the inning when he tried to advance to second on a ball in the dirt. Catcher Russell Martin threw him out by about 3 feet.

Kansas City missed another opportunity in the fifth, putting two runners on with one out. Light-hitting Alcides Escobar struck out and Nick Swisher made a diving stab of a sinking liner off Getz's bat in right field to end the inning.

"It was a nice play by him," Getz said. "What are you going to do?"

The Royals chased Garcia in the seventh and Robertson eventually walked the bases loaded, but he rebounded nicely by striking out Escobar and Getz to end the inning.

"He's been getting the big strikeouts when he needs to," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's been a strikeout guy since he came up and he just continues to do it for us."

Kansas City went quietly the rest of the way, with Rivera making a nice stab of a sharp grounder by Mike Aviles and whirling around toward second to start a game-ending double play. Rivera even pumped his fist when the ball landed in Mark Teixeira's glove at first base.

"Mo is one of the few pitchers that can make that play," Jeter said.

NOTES: Soriano (sore right elbow) will have an MRI exam Wednesday. ... Yankees RHP Phil Hughes plans to start throwing on flat ground Thursday. He had a cortisone shot about two weeks ago to relieve discomfort in his ailing right shoulder. Hughes has been on the disabled list since April 14. ... The Royals are putting LHP Bruce Chen (strained left side) on the DL and will recall RHP Vin Mazzaro from Triple-A Omaha to start Wednesday night.