Yankees carry positive trends into rematch with Royals

Thu Jun 13 2:47am ET
Field Level Media

As the New York Yankees try to complete a four-game sweep over the host Kansas City Royals on Thursday afternoon, they will look to their devastating combination of solid starting pitching and early offense.

New York starters have thrown at least four innings in all 70 starts this year -- the 10th-longest season-opening streak in the majors since 1900 -- while allowing more than four earned runs just three times -- fewest in the majors.

Meanwhile, the Yankees' bats have been on an early-game rampage, scoring 45 runs in the first four innings of their past 14 games, with 12 wins.

"(Anthony) Volpe, (Juan) Soto, (Aaron) Judge, (Alex Verdugo) Duggie, (Giancarlo) Stanton, on and on," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It's a pretty good way to start off a ballgame. The hitters as a whole have done a really good job of being prepared and having a game plan and trusting one another."

"We have a lot of fun with each other," Judge said. "We've got a lot of special players in this room. It's fun showing up to the ballpark every day with these guys."

Judge has played a large role, of course, hitting .395 with 49 RBIs in his past 42 games, but New York, which has won 23 of its past 29 games, has enjoyed production across the board.

The Yankees opened Wednesday's 11-5 victory with a six-run first inning.

"A lot of good things happened in that inning. Everyone putting together really good at-bats, capped off with that no-doubter by (Jose) Trevino," Boone said, referring to Trevino's three-run homer.

Fellow catcher Austin Wells launched a three-run shot in the fourth inning of Tuesday's win.

"We've gotten contributions from the bottom of the order," Boone said. "It's fun to see their camaraderie. It's fun to see their focus, and they're not letting up."

Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes (3-5, 3.68 ERA) takes the mound for Thursday's finale, opposing Royals right-hander Alec Marsh (5-3, 4.05).

In three career starts and two relief appearances against Kansas City, Cortes is 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 22 1/3 innings. He last faced the Royals in 2022, starting twice and winning both while going five innings each time. Salvador Perez has two homers in nine at-bats against Cortes.

Cortes matched a season-worst four runs allowed in 5 1/3 innings while taking the loss against the Dodgers on Saturday.

Marsh is 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA in two appearances (one start) against the Yankees, both last season. The start was on July 21, when he surrendered three home runs -- one to Gleyber Torres -- in 5 1/3 innings, taking the loss.

After compiling a 2.72 ERA through his first eight starts this season, Marsh has hit a rough patch, surrendering 14 runs on 19 hits in 17 innings (7.41 ERA) over his past three starts, a win and two losses.

"I thought the curveball was really good today," Marsh said after beating the visiting Seattle Mariners on Saturday. "The sweeper's been coming along. That stuff's trending in the right direction."

"His stuff was really good," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. "That was the best I've seen his curveball and sweep in a long time."

Marsh has given up eight homers this season, with five in his past three starts and two by the Mariners. J.P. Crawford took him deep on his first pitch.

"First pitch of the game, you're not expecting a home run," Marsh said. "It's going to be challenging moving forward to see how deep I can go in games. I've got some stuff to work on out of the stretch."