It was an especially eventful and disappointing Sunday in New York for the Royals, who dropped a 12-6 decision to the defending World Series champions on a long afternoon. The day included reliever Blake Wood hitting Alex Rodriguez on the hand with a pitch, a 2-hour 32-minute rain delay, a collapse by the bullpen and a so-so start by Sean O'Sullivan, who was making his Royals debut and his second start against the Yankees in the span of six days.
"We couldn't keep them off base and we couldn't' stop them from driving in runs" said Royals left fielder Scott Podsednik, who slammed two home runs and equaled his single-game career-best with four RBIs. "Their offense was pretty much the story all weekend. We knew they had a powerful lineup coming in and that's pretty much what they [showed]."
In losing three of four to the Yankees, the Royals lost by scores of 12-6, 10-4 and 10-6. Kansas City salvaged a 7-4 win on Saturday.
"It's really a neat place, it's a neat city and there's a lot going on," was about all Royals manager Ned Yost could muster when asked if he was happy to be leaving town.
O'Sullivan had started against and defeated the Yankees as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 20. Two days later, he was part of a multi-player trade between the Angels and Royals. On Sunday, he became the first pitcher since the late Cory Lidle to make back-to-back starts against the same team while pitching for two different clubs.
O'Sullivan had retired 14 of the final 15 Yankees he faced in his win. He started Sunday by retiring seven straight before the Yankees found their batting strokes.
"I liked O'Sullivan," Yost said. "I liked his makeup, I liked his competitiveness, and I liked his stuff. The command of his fastball was off a little bit today."
O'Sullivan took a 2-0 lead into the third, thanks to Podsednik's first homer since June 17, and left the inning trailing 4-2. He gave up a leadoff homer to Curtis Granderson, who also homered off the right-hander in the fourth, a run-scoring double to Derek Jeter, and a two-run double to Rodriguez, who left the field after being hit on the left hand by a pitch in the eighth inning and is stuck on 599 career homers.
O'Sullivan said that except for his location, "I wouldn't change any of it."
The changeup that had worked so well for him in his win wasn't effective Sunday, so he turned to his breaking ball and fastball.
New York led, 5-2, when rain stopped the proceedings with one out in the top of the sixth. O'Sullivan didn't return. But everyone knew that with Rodriguez trying to become the seventh man in Major League history to hit 600 homers and the Yankees starting a road trip on Monday, the game would likely be completed.
New York continued to build on its lead once play resumed. The mood took a turn for the worse in a five-run Yankees eighth that included two Kansas City errors and a wild Wood facing Rodriguez with the bases loaded.
Wood threw a fastball up and in to Rodriguez before he hit the infielder. Rodriguez dropped to the ground in pain as trainers and Yankees manager Joe Girardi rushed to the plate. A pinch-runner was sent to first before Rodriguez ever reached the bag, but the star is expected to play Monday in Cleveland.
"The ball just got away," said Wood, his face flushed red after the game. "It could have happened to anybody, it just happened to him at that spot. The ball has been up a little bit. I got four ground balls, walked a guy and hit a guy. If those ground balls could have gone at people we're not even talking about this right now. I've made some bad pitches, there's no doubt about that."
Yost said the Royals have been working on Wood due to a mechanical flaw when the right-hander is pitching from the stretch.
"He's mechanically off right now," Yost said. "His ball is coming back, but it's not going down. He was trying to throw strikes. Again, he has struggled with his command. Both those pitches that he got up just got away from him."
Wood admitted he was trying to throw inside to Rodriguez, a right-handed hitter.
"He hits the ball pretty well away, especially with the short porch over there in right field," Wood said. "He's done a lot of damage over there in his career and I have a pretty good fastball I want to get in on righties. I was trying to throw a fastball in on his hands and just got it up."
Wood wasn't happy with his results, but insisted he wasn't shaken by the fateful pitch to Rodriguez. "I wasn't happy with what happened, obviously"' Wood said. "It's going to get better." The Royals would all agree with that.
Kit Stier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less