Yankees resume set with Royals trying to avoid 4th straight loss

So much for that season-high six-game winning streak.

The New York Yankees have hit the skids of late with three straight losses and will try to get back to their winning ways Wednesday in the third portion of a four-game series versus the Kansas City Royals.

New York opened the month on a roll, but is now on the verge of losing this series versus the Royals at Yankee Stadium. Kansas City took the opener, 5-1, and followed that with Tuesday's 3-1 victory.

CC Sabathia went the distance and still suffered defeat, as he yielded the three runs and seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks. David Lough and Billy Butler homered off Sabathia in consecutive innings and the big left- hander is now 9-7 on the season.

"I feel like I've been letting these guys down," Sabathia said. "We've been struggling swinging the bats and we scored early off (James) Shields. I mean, it was 1-0, but still. You don't want to give up the lead."

Brett Gardner had two of New York's six hits and All-Star Robinson Cano gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the first inning with an RBI single. Cano is now tied with Thurman Munson for 18th place on the club's all-time hit list.

The Yankees are 2-3 on a 10-game homestand and six games off the pace in the AL East, just a half-game behind Baltimore for third. They are still 14-5 against AL Central clubs this season.

Ivan Nova will make his fourth start since being recalled from the minors and the Yankees' right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA and 22 strikeouts in his last three appearances. Nova recorded the first complete game of his career last Friday in a 3-2 win against Baltimore and allowed two runs and three hits with 11 K's and just one walk.

Nova has a 3-2 record in nine games, six of which have been starts, with a 4.09 earned run average. He has faced Kansas City twice in his career and is 1-1 with a less-than-stellar 11.88 ERA.

The Royals have won five of their last seven games and look for a series triumph Wednesday in the Bronx.

Shields pitched K.C. to a win with seven innings of one-run ball and five strikeouts, while Tim Collins and Greg Holland each spun a scoreless inning of relief. Holland posted his 22nd save in the ninth and has 15 in a row.

"James Shields after the first inning really settled in. He made big pitches when he needed to," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

After homers by Lough and Butler, Eric Hosmer added an RBI ground-rule double in the eighth inning to cap the scoring.

Kansas City still has Cleveland to visit on this seven-game road trip and has won three in a row away from Kauffman Stadium.

The last time Wade Davis faced the Yankees he was trounced in an 11-6 loss on May 10 at Kauffman Stadium. Davis will be out for a measure of revenge Wednesday when he takes the mound in the Bronx.

Davis allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings in that previous loss to New York and is 2-4 with a 5.01 earned run average in 11 career games (7 starts) in this series. Davis has dropped back-to-back starts overall and is 1-4 in his previous five decisions. He absorbed a hard-luck loss in a 6-3 setback to Oakland on Friday and struck out eight batters over seven innings, allowing three runs.

The right-hander, who bounced back from a one-inning outing at Minnesota on June 29, is 4-7 with a 5.42 ERA in 17 starts this season.

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.