With career win No. 200 already in the books, New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia will try to keep rolling when he takes the mound Tuesday versus the Kansas City Royals in the Bronx.
It took two tries for Sabathia to reach the 200-win club and he accomplished the feat in last Wednesday's 3-2 win at Minnesota, where he lasted seven innings and gave up two runs with nine strikeouts. Sabathia, who has pitched at least seven innings in four straight and seven of eight starts, targets win No. 10 versus the Royals and is 9-6 in 18 starts with a 4.06 earned run average.
Sabathia is 5-2 in his last seven decisions and has won at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner owns a 6-2 mark in eight home outings and has made 35 career starts against Kansas City, going 18-10 with a 3.26 ERA in that span.
The Royals will counter with James Shields and have won each of his last seven trips to the mound. Shields, who was 0-4 in five appearances before his unbeaten run, is 1-0 with a 3.71 ERA in the last seven starts and did not record a decision on July 4 in a 10-7 win over Cleveland.
Shields allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings and is 3-6 with a 3.23 ERA in 18 starts overall. The first-year Royal lost to the Yankees on May 11 and is just 7-15 with a 4.46 ERA in 27 career starts against them. Shields, of course, spent the first seven years of his career with Tampa Bay.
New York has lost two in a row since ripping off six straight victories and finds itself five games off the lead in the AL East. The Yankees dropped Monday's opener of this four-game series by a 5-1 score, as Phil Hughes was charged with the loss for giving up two runs in four innings.
Lyle Overbay homered and both Vernon Wells and Luis Cruz finished with two hits for the Yankees. Brett Gardner went 0-for-4 and has struck out at least once in each of his last 16 games, setting the franchise record for consecutive games with a strikeout as a batter.
"He's just struggling a little right now," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I can't really put my finger on it."
The Yankees are 2-2 so far on their 10-game homestand.
Kansas City began a seven-game trek in good fashion and used a strong start by Jeremy Guthrie to dispose of the Yankees. Guthrie helped the Royals win for the fourth time in six tries and he held the hosts to a run over 6 2/3 innings of work.
Guthrie waited out a rain delay that lasted almost an hour. He has pitched through three rain delays already this season.
"I should be a rain delay All-Star. If they had a rain delay team, I'd probably be the starting pitcher," Guthrie told the club's website.
"I grew up in Oregon, so I'm used to it. My dad always considered me a pitcher that did well in the rain. I've had my ups and downs in the rain this year. Some good, some bad."
Greg Holland struck out three and worked around a hit in the ninth for his 21st save of the season.
Billy Butler homered, David Lough had a pair of hits and an RBI and Mike Moustakas finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
The Royals were swept by the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium from May 10-12 and stopped a five-game slide in this series with Monday's win.