Yankees, Royals set for encore to dramatic series opener

MLB Kansas City

The temperatures for the entire three-game series between the New York Yankees and the host Kansas City Royals are expected to be in the mid- to upper-90s, with heat indices in the low 100s. That makes keeping players fresh a priority for both managers.

The Yankees and the Royals will play the second game of a three-game series Tuesday night, and both managers are scheduling days off for their regular players. After a four-hour-and-52-minute, 11-inning game Monday, rest will be key for everyone.

The mound matchup for the Tuesday game is Royals left-hander Daniel Lynch (2-3, 6.00 ERA) against Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. (0-0, 2.15).

Monday’s game, an 8-6 New York win, was one for the record books. The Yankees took one-run leads in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, but the Royals answered all three times. The Yankees scored twice in the 10th, but the Royals came back in the bottom of the 10th.

The Yankees finally grabbed a lead they could maintain by putting up three runs in the 11th, though the Royals left the tying run on base in the bottom of the inning.

Even though their comeback in the 11th fell short, the Royals became the first team in the modern era (since 1900), according to STATS, to erase deficits in the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th innings of the same game.

Royals manager Mike Matheny kept Hunter Dozier out of the starting lineup after the third baseman/outfielder played 94 of the team’s first 110 games.

“He’s been on our list for a while of guys who are having a lot of work and covering a lot of ground,” Matheny said. “The ground covered with going from third base to the outfield, it’s been crazy. That’s a big demand on the body.”

His counterpart with the Yankees, Aaron Boone, took a similar approach with infielder Rougned Odor for Monday’s game.

“It’s just a day (off),” Boone said Monday. “We’ve been wanting to give him one for a few days now.”

Odor came in as a pinch hitter in the 11th and remained in the game on defense for the last half-inning.

Boone’s challenge was made even tougher when the Yankees placed shortstop Gleyber Torres on the 10-day injured list Monday due to a left thumb sprain. Torres went 3-for-4 with a double Sunday in the Yankees’ 2-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

“We’ll know a lot more in the next couple of days when he sees a specialist,” Boone said. “(Sunday) night we got good news. We were concerned that it was going to be more serious. As of right now it’s a sprain. The initial thought is 10 to 20 days.”

Lynch is in his first season with the Royals, though on his second stint. He had three starts in May and went 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA (14 earned runs in eight innings) before getting sent back to Triple-A Omaha.

He figured things out in the minors and has been a different pitcher in his three starts since coming back July 25, going 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA.

Lynch was spectacular in his first start upon returning, pitching eight scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers. He became the first Royals pitcher to toss eight shutout innings in any of his first four career appearances.

Cortes will make his fifth start and 13th appearance overall for the Yankees. He is 5-2 with a 5.25 ERA in parts of four seasons. Cortes has faced the Royals twice in his career, both times in relief, and has compiled 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He limited New York to one hit in 2 2/3 innings on June 24.

Cortes was selected by the Yankees in the 36th round of the 2013 draft, and he played in the majors for the Baltimore Orioles (2018), the Yankees (2019) and the Mariners (2020) before returning to New York as a minor league free agent in January.

–Field Level Media

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