MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The game-changer: Vargas was still hanging on with two out in the fourth, trailing 2-0 with two out. But with Aaron Judge and Chase Headley on base, Vargas hung a changeup to Hicks, who skied it down the left-field line near the pole. It landed fair -- Statcast™ estimated it traveled 390 feet with a 101 mph exit velocity. The shot gave the Yanks a commanding 5-0 lead. More >
"[Hicks] has played really, really well," Girardi said. "That's why we continue to use him."
"Vargy, for the most, is going to give you a good five, six or seven innings, even on nights when he's not sharp," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was just one of those nights. He was facing a hot-hitting team and they didn't miss a mistake."
Stop right there: Pineda got into a self-induced jam in the sixth when he hit Mike Moustakas with a pitch to lead off, and after one out, walked Eric Hosmer. The Royals were down 10-3 at the time with hopes of chiseling away at the lead. But Pineda got Perez to fly out to right and then struck out Jorge Soler to end the threat.
"He has a really good changeup tonight," Hosmer said. "He's always had a good cutter, good slider."
Said Pineda: "When your team does a lot of scoring, it makes you pretty comfortable on the mound."
The Royals successfully challenged a safe call at the plate in the fifth inning when Alex Gordon came up throwing on Sanchez's single to left with Chris Carter barreling home. The call was overturned as catcher Perez put the tag on Carter before his foot touched home plate.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 4.19 ERA) will oppose the Royals in the final game of the series on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. ET. Montgomery has limited hitters to a .156 average with runners in scoring position through his first six starts.
Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy (2-3, 3.38) will take the mound in the series finale against the Yankees at 7:15 p.m. CT. Duffy took a no-decision on Friday against the Orioles -- giving up two runs over seven innings while striking out six.