KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Turns out the New York Yankees can win ballgames even when they don’t put one out of the park.
It helps having Gerrit Cole on the mound.
The Cy Young runner-up a year ago tossed six sharp innings, the Yankees resorted to manufacturing runs against sloppy Kansas City pitching, and New York beat the Royals 3-0 Saturday night for its eighth straight win.
“No question, when you want to be a complete team and a really good one, you have to find ways at times to win in different ways,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I thought the pitching staff led by Gerrit made really good pitches.”
Cole (2-0) allowed five hits and two walks while striking out six in another dominant start at Kauffman Stadium. The hard-throwing right-hander has allowed only two earned runs in 21 1/3 innings in the pitcher-friendly ballpark.
Aroldis Chapman worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save, helping the Yankees improve to 15-6 — just the fifth time since 1959 that the 27-time World Series champions have won at least 15 of their first 21 games.
Normally a power-hitting team, one that had hit 18 homers in its previous seven games, the Yankees saw Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa manage sacrifice flies off inconsistent Royals starter Carlos Hernandez (0-1) but little else.
“We’re winning now,” Cole said. “That’s all we’re focused on.”
Hernandez walked five of the first 15 batters he faced and, at one point, had thrown more balls (37) than strikes (36). But the young right-hander limited the damage against a Yankees lineup that loves to inflict it.
Hernandez worked around a walk in the first, then loaded the bases with nobody out in the second but allowed just one run thanks to a double play and a groundout. Hernandez loaded them again with one out in the third, gave…