Three Yankees hit home runs while Michael Pineda won his second straight start as New York beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, Monday at Yankee Stadium. >> Box score
Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius and Chris Carter each homered to power the Yankees to their second straight win.
Pineda (5-2) gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings to win his second straight outing against Kansas City. He struck out five batters in six innings in an 11-7 win last Wednesday.
Gardner homered for the second straight game, hitting a solo homer off Jason Vargas in the third inning. Gregorius' two-run home run in the fourth inning gave New York a 3-2 lead.
The Royals threatened to tie the game with two outs in the top of the seventh inning when Alcides Escobar appeared to beat out a ground ball with hit up the middle that allowed Jorge Soler to score from second, but manager Joe Girardi challenged the call and the umpires reversed the call.
Carter's solo homer off Seth Maness in the seventh inning made it 4-2.
The Royals scored twice in the third inning on a Jorge Bonifacio solo home run and Escobar RBI double. Vargas (5-3) gave up three runs and four hits in six innings.
Coming into this season, Pineda was considered the Yankees' enigma among the starting rotation. He struck out batters at a 10.6 per nine innings clip last season, yet generated a 4.82 ERA. Pineda's performance fluctuated from game to game and sometimes from inning to inning. It was unnerving because when Pineda was on, he was often dominant, and when he was off, he got shelled.
This season, Pineda has been the Yankees' most consistent starter. Pineda has now tossed six quality starts in nine games this season and has just one truly poor effort. He is giving the Yankees some length in his starts as well, which is incredibly important considering the rest of the group has done the opposite. It's still early in the season, but if Pineda continues to pitch like this it will go a long way toward the Yankees success.
Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 4.81 ERA) faces Danny Duffy (3-3, 2.97 ERA) in the second game of the four-game series Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.