NEW YORK – As far as Eric Hosmer knows, this is all the Royals do when they visit the Yankees.
The promising rookie who was called up less than a week ago homered to kick off Kansas City's big second inning and the Royals beat New York 11-5 on Thursday night for their first series win in the Bronx since 1999.
"It's been a real good three days," Hosmer said. "We came to New York and took two out of three from the Yankees. We're winning ballgames and you'll keep seeing the smile on my face when we keep winning."
"I found out today that we hadn't won one since '99," Butler said. "Roughly, give or take a little bit, I've been here roughly half of it. I've experienced a lot of failure here. I think it's a statement for us. Throughout the whole season, we've been fighting and we don't give up, no matter who we're facing."
The Royals (20-17) head to Detroit only 3½ games behind Cleveland — another surprise — in the AL Central. They'll be trying to prove that they've recovered from a bad road start. The two wins in New York made Kansas City still only 5-9 away from home, a night after Hosmer's first career homer helped the Royals end a seven-game road losing streak.
"It's a very big confidence boost for us, especially on the road because we've had struggles on the road in general," Butler said. "I don't think we've had enough sample size to say that's the case, but, especially coming off the last road trip, this is a good way to start the road trip."
Still, the Yankees fell out of first place in the AL East for the first time since April 13, slipping a game behind Tampa Bay. Just in time for the Red Sox to come to town, too.
Sean O'Sullivan (2-2) retired his first 13 batters before running into trouble, but pitched into the seventh to give Kansas City its eighth win in 12 games.
The Royals' 16 hits were a season high, one night after they had four in 11 innings, in a 4-3 win. Ten of them came off Ivan Nova (3-3), who had the shortest start of his career.
"I guess we were saving a lot of hits for the getaway game tonight," Hosmer said.
Hosmer drove in a run on a check-swing double that was his third hit of the night.
"Good hitters do that," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I never could get those when I was playing."
The Yankees got back four runs in the fifth inning, on Robinson Cano's leadoff homer, Francisco Cervelli's two-run double and Derek Jeter's sacrifice fly.
O'Sullivan was lifted with two outs in the seventh after allowing Jeter's single up the middle. He gave up four runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings, without a strikeout.
Hosmer led off the Royals' big second inning with a solo shot to right-center field. Some careless play by the Yankees set up the Royals to score five runs with two outs, making it the worst inning by Yankees pitching all season.
Second baseman Cano's throwing error on a double-play ball left Wilson Betemit safe at second and Matt Treanor at first. They both took a base on a passed ball by Cervelli, setting up Mike Aviles' infield single to make it 2-0.
Cabrera followed with a double, and then took a big lead off the bag. Cervelli tried to throw behind him, but the ball skipped into center field and Aviles scored.
"I tried to throw to second," Cervelli said. "It was a bad throw. That inning was the whole game."
Butler's groundout and Jeff Francoeur's single capped the inning and made it 6-0.
"You can't give teams extra outs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You give teams extra baserunners with errors and walks, you hit guys, it's just going to lead to trouble. Those games are extremely hard to win."
Although his defense didn't help him any, Nova was hit hard from the start. He left after starting the fourth with a leadoff homer by Cabrera, a double by Gordon and an RBI single by Butler.
Four of the eight runs Nova allowed were earned and his 10 hits given up were a career worst. Nova's previous shortest starts were two times he went 4 1-3 earlier this season. In one of those, April 9 at Boston, he allowed a career-high seven hits.
"The errors, it's part of the game," Nova said. "I just got to keep my head up, keep working hard."
Amaury Sanit pitched 4 2-3 innings in relief of Nova. The 31-year-old Cuban made his major league debut, allowing four hits and three runs. He also hit two batters with pitches and threw a wild pitch.
Royals pitchers didn't record a single strikeout.
Notes: Jeter's grounder up the middle in the seventh inning was his 2,963rd career hit. It tied him with Sam Crawford for 29th on the career list. ... O'Sullivan made his first road appearance of the season. ... Cervelli had two passed balls.