Yankees struggle at plate again in loss to Royals

Raul Ibanez flew out with the bases loaded to end the third inning.

As the Yankees slogged their way through another struggle at the plate, one fan in the sparse Yankee Stadium crowd yelled “Can anyone get a hit?”

Track records indicate the Yankees can get a hit, even a clutch one, but not last night as a 6-0 loss to the Royals dropped them to .500 on the season.

“It’s just kind of the way it’s going right now,” manager Joe Girardi
said. “We have to find a way to get through it. It’s frustrating as
we’re going through it. Clubs are going to go through and we’re not
going to be the only club that goes through it this year, but right now
it’s not a lot of fun.”

The Yankees went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and 2-for-14 with men on base, failing to generate much of anything against Royals starter Felipe Paulino for the second time this month.

“It’s definitely frustrating and it [stinks],” Alex Rodriguez said.?

The common theme was that the slump is not a lack of effort or pregame preparation. They repeated that they hit some balls hard, but they happened to reach defenders instead of finding holes.

“You can’t control where it goes,” Derek Jeter said. “You hope no one is there to catch it but a lot of times it looks like they’re playing 20 people out there. It happens every year. It happens to every team.”

“It has been very good,” Girardi said of the effort. “You look at some of the at-bats we had with runners in scoring position, three lineouts. We got a ball to the wall that Raul [Ibanez] hit. You can talk about hitting with runners in scoring position, which is what we’ve been talking about lately. There are good at-bats and sometimes you come up with nothing. It seemed like we did it four or five times today, but it’s just kind of the way things are going.”

Since this slump began with a 6-2 loss to Seattle on May 14, the Yankees are hitting .162 (19-for-116) with men on base and .095 (7-for-72) with runners in scoring position.

Not even getting Mark Teixeira’s bat back after a weekend off could spark an offense that through May 12 was hitting .276, but has now dropped to .265. He had a double in the ninth, but his night included an inning-ending strikeout in the sixth with Alex Rodriguez on third.

Rodriguez was not immune from booing even though he had two hits. He failed to hit a home run for the 13th straight game, extending his drought to 48 at-bats.

He heard boos during the third inning when the Yankees loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Rodriguez swung late on a 2-2 fastball and, after striking out, one fan to let out a loud “No” before jeering.

Robinson Cano also heard some boos. One of two Yankees under 30 in last night’s starting lineup, he went 0-for-3, including a force out at third that ended the seventh.

“Oh yeah, without a question,” Rodriguez said when asked about the booing. “They’re passionate. We have the same frustration. We will turn this around — no doubt about it.”

“It has to change,” Nick Swisher said. “It’s the law of averages. This team is a no quit type of team.”

Hiroki Kuroda allowed three runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings, including a two-run homer to Mike Moustakas in the first. He also gave up an RBI double to Eric Hosmer in the third.

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


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