Royals defeat Yankees after rain delay
NEW YORK -- Jeremy Guthrie is used to rain delays so an unexpected pop-up thunderstorm causing a 59-minute delay hardly proved to be a problem Monday night.
Guthrie mixed speeds and kept the New York Yankees off-balance while pitching effectively into the seventh inning as the Kansas City Royals opened a four-game series at Yankee Stadium with a 5-1 victory.
Guthrie pitched in a game featuring a rain delay for the third time this season and allowed one run and six hits en route to his first win in five starts since June 10. He looked more like the pitcher who began the season 5-0 with a 2.28 ERA over his first seven starts.
The first delay in a game Guthrie pitched in was May 30 in St. Louis when the Royals had a game delayed an hour before the first pitch and for four hours, 32 minutes in a 4-2 victory that ended at 4:14 EDT. The second instance was last Wednesday against Cleveland in a 6-5 victory that had a two-hour, 37-minute rain delay before Guthrie threw a pitch and a 12-minute delay due to a power outage in Kansas City.
"I should be a rain delay All-Star," Guthrie said. "If they had a rain-delay team, I'd probably be a starting pitcher. 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, some good and some bad."
Guthrie was already cruising when two rainstorms surprised the Royals. After the bottom of the third, a brief shower started before ending but rain returned two pitches into an at-bat against Robinson Cano with one out in the fourth.
"The rain popped up out of nowhere," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "There was nothing at the start of the game. It got a little cloudy and someone said, 'Is it going to rain?' I said, 'No, it's not going to rain.
"I ran in and looked at the radar and there was a pop-up right over us and that was the first one. Then I thought it was going to be short and we got through it. Then I came back in and just blew up. It blew up fast."
Initially it appeared that there would not be a delay but shortly after the grounds crew began cleaning the mound and other parts of the field, the heavy rain returned, prompting another delay for the Royals.
"We didn't hear about any rain coming until it was on top of us," Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler said. "It was one of those things. We've played in all kinds of conditions this year. It seems like we've always had it this year."
Guthrie threw 37 pitches before the delay and kept fresh by throwing in the batting cages behind the dugout every 10 to 15 minutes.
"If it's cold and nasty, he would have been done," Yost said. "But with this hot, humid weather he was just able to stay loose."
He cruised until the seventh, when he allowed a two-out home run to pinch hitter Lyle Overbay followed by singles to Luis Cruz and pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki.
After Suzuki's hit chased Guthrie, Tim Collins struck out pinch hitter Eduardo Nunez on a 2-2 changeup. In the eighth, Collins allowed a one-out single to rookie Zoilo Almonte and walked Cano on four pitches before getting Travis Hafner to hit into a force play.
Aaron Crow won a tough battle with Vernon Wells, getting him to ground out on the eighth pitch with two on for the final out of the eighth. Luke Hochever allowed a walk to Overbay and a single to Cruz before Greg Holland escaped a bases-loaded jam with none out in the ninth by striking out the side for his 21st save in 23 opportunities.
Butler hit a solo home run while David Lough and Johnny Giavotella had run-scoring doubles for Kansas City. All-Star Alex Gordon also had an RBI double in the ninth, and Alcides Escobar followed with a run-scoring triple.
The Yankees lost their second straight following a season-high six-game losing streak and fell to 1-27 when scoring two runs or less.
New York starter Phil Hughes also tried to keep fresh by throwing during the delays but he was up to 62 pitches after allowing two runs and four hits in four innings.
"It was tough," Hughes said. "I felt I may have found something in the third or fourth inning. I was throwing the ball better."
NOTES: New York SS Derek Jeter appeared in his third rehab game for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. ... 1B Travis Ishikawa became the 43rd player to appear for the Yankees when he joined the team Monday. ... 3B David Adams, who was batting .190, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre so he can receive regular playing time. ... Cano announced that Chris Davis and Prince Fielder would participate in next Monday's home run derby for the American League. .... RHP Louis Coleman was recalled from Triple-A Omaha by the Royals after being there since June 4. RHP Will Smith was optioned to Omaha after throwing 51 pitches over three innings Sunday against Oakland. ... LHP Bruce Chen will make his first start of the season Friday in Cleveland in place of struggling RHP Luis Mendoza.