NEW YORK — Jeremy Guthrie was on a roll — against the Yankees, no less. Neither hail nor sun shower was going to stop him. No way.
Guthrie neatly handled a nemesis and a 59-minute delay to pitch into the seventh inning, Billy Butler homered and the Kansas City Royals held on to beat New York 5-1 Monday night.
"Tremendous competitor," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said of Guthrie. "He showed it today — to endure an hour rain delay and go out and throw at the level that he threw."
All-Star Alex Gordon, David Lough and Johnny Giavotella each had RBI doubles, and Alcides Escobar added a run-scoring triple to help the Royals end a five-game skid against New York.
"It's been tough every year I've been here to come in and get a win," Butler said. "It means a lot."
Guthrie (8-6) gave up three hits over six innings, albeit to a Yankees lineup that had only four players that were with the team on opening day.
Leading 5-1, closer Greg Holland was needed in the ninth when Lyle Overbay walked and Luis Cruz singled to start the inning against Luke Hochevar. Holland gave up a hit to Chris Stewart to load the bases. But Holland struck out Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner and Zoilo Almonte to end it for his 21st save.
"Holly's been lights out for us," Yost said.
Guthrie twice struck out the newest member in pinstripes, Travis Ishikawa, before Overbay homered pinch hitting for the first baseman who was claimed off waivers from Baltimore on Sunday. Overbay's 10th of the year was New York's first long ball in six games.
"Not an easy lineup to pitch, too," he said. "Obviously they have their injuries now and are missing a lot of keys so you go out there and try to attack them as best as you can."
Entering 4-9 with a 5.15 ERA against the Yankees in 17 appearances — 15 starts — Guthrie left with runners on first and third and two outs in the seventh. Tim Collins relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Nunez to protect a 3-1 lead.
Aaron Crow relieved Collins in the eighth with two on, two out and got Vernon Wells to ground out to second.
The Yankees have lost two in a row after a season-best six straight wins.
With the sun reflecting off the windows of a building beyond center field, rain and hail sent fans scurrying for cover in the bottom of the third inning. The quick moving cloud was gone before Phil Hughes (4-8) threw his first pitch of the fourth. Hughes retired three straight with the faintest of rainbows arcing over the scoreboard, then the rain returned.
After Guthrie got an out with his 37th pitch, crew chief Dana DeMuth called for the tarp. As "Singin' in the Rain" blared over the PA system, the grounds crew struggled to cover the increasingly muddy infield, getting stuck halfway then pulling the huge sheet off and starting again. The biggest cheer of the night — until Overbay's homer in the seventh — came when the crew finished the job.
Guthrie's previous outing was delayed by rain at the start for over 2 hours, 30 minutes, then for 12 more minutes in the seventh by a power outage. He was better prepared for the break this time.
"After last game I was trying treat it a little bit different, be a little more focused," he said.
The right-hander threw every 10 to 15 minutes in the batting cage to stay warm, treating the time as if it were a game.
Guthrie completed the fourth on six pitches.
Adam Warren replaced Hughes to start the fifth. Hughes gave up two runs and four hits in his abbreviated outing.
"He had already thrown a lot and with him coming back second, it would have been an hour-and-15-minute break for him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I wasn't real comfortable bringing him back after an hour or so."
Hughes would've liked to stay if only because he finally felt as if he had got in a groove after the second.
"It's tough. I felt like I really found something," he said. In the third and fourth innings I felt pretty good, but that's baseball."
Passed over for the Home Run Derby last year at the All-Star game in Kansas City by AL captain Robinson Cano, Butler sent a drive the opposite way to right field leading off the second. Fans relentlessly booed Cano at Butler's home field during the competition last July. Captain of the AL home run team again this year, Cano again did not choose Butler — the Orioles' Chris Davis and Detroit's Prince Fielder were his first two picks announced Monday. But it would be hard to object this time. Butler's long ball was only his seventh — and he's not on the All-Star team.
An out later, Mike Moustakas lined an opposite-field double to left, and Lough made it 2-0 with a shot that just landed fair down the third base line for a double the opposite way.
Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson helped preserve the 3-0 lead in sixth when he made a diving catch of Almonte's sinking liner in right-center with Gardner on first.
"I think the game was won with the Dyson play," Guthrie said.
Giavotella drove in a run in the seventh, and Gordon and Escobar had back-to-back RBIs in the ninth.