KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Gordon hit a three-run home run, Billy Butler added a contested solo shot and the Kansas City Royals survived a harrowing ninth inning to beat the New York Yankees 5-4 Wednesday night and avoid a three-game sweep.
The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the ninth and made it 5-4 on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly. After a passed ball, Joakim Soria reloaded the bases by walking Nick Swisher. Then Jorge Posada, on his 40th birthday, took a called third strike to end it. The wobbly Soria got his 22nd save in 29 opportunities.
Bruce Chen (8-5) went six innings and beat the Yankees for just the second time in seven career decisions. The Royals have lost 10 of 13 games and the veteran left-hander owns all three wins.
Curtis Granderson homered in the Yankees first, his sixth in eight games. He also doubled, singled and scored twice, raising his majors-leading total to 111 runs scored. Coming into the night, his 33 home runs were two shy of Toronto’s Joe Bautista for the major league lead. Russell Martin hit a solo homer in the sixth for New York.
Bartolo Colon (8-7) took his first loss in five starts, lasting five innings and allowing five runs on seven hits, with two walks, four strikeouts and the two home runs. He dropped to 15-9 against Kansas City.
Struggling rookie Mike Moustakas had three hits for the Royals, including a leadoff double in the third. After Alcides Escobar singled, Gordon hammered Colon’s 3-2 pitch 418 feet over the fence for a three-run homer, raising his RBI count to a career-high 61.
One out later, Butler’s ball appeared to strike the upper railing behind left field before bouncing back onto the field. Umpires ruled it a home run but went in to look at a review after talking to New York manager Joe Girardi.
Girardi argued again briefly when they returned and confirmed the designated hitter’s 15th home run. Replays showed the ball hitting the padding below the railing and bouncing up toward the front row of fans before coming back onto the field.
Derek Jeter was 4 for 5 and 9 for 15 for the three-game series.
Chen went six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits, with three walks and three strikeouts. He also gave up a solo home run in the sixth to Martin.
After hitting a home run in the first and doubling and scoring in the fourth, Granderson was stopped in his third at-bat by second baseman Johnny Giavotella’s outstanding defensive play. The rookie dived to his left to snare Granderson’s hard-hit grounder and threw to Chen covering the bag, ending the inning and possibly saving a run because Jeter was on second with a two-out double.
Melky Cabrera tripled leading off the fifth and made it 5-2 when he scored on Eric Hosmer’s infield out.
NOTES — Tampa Bay’s 4-0 victory over Boston kept New York half a game ahead in the AL East. ... The Yankees planned to bring 3B Alex Rodriguez to Minnesota on Thursday, where they will begin a four-game series with the Twins. But the three-time MVP, rehabbing knee surgery, may not be activated right away. ... The Royals have been giving outfielder Mitch Maier some groundballs at third base in case they ever need an emergency starter there. ... The Royals will start Luke Hochevar (8-9) against Josh Beckett (9-5) Thursday night in the first of four games against the Boston Red Sox. They split four games in Boston last month. ... CC Sabathia (16-7) gets the start for the Yankees on Thursday against Brian Duensing (8-11). He’s 7-0 in his last eight starts against the Twins... Posada grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.