New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
- The Yankees took four of seven games in this series last season, and haven't lost a season series versus the Royals since 1999
- New York is alone in first place of the AL East for the first time this season after winning its last two games in Colorado and seeing the Red Sox lose three straight.
- Kansas City snapped its first three-game losing streak of the season with yesterday's 6-2 defeat of the Orioles. The Royals are 9-0 this year when scoring six or more runs.
- Alex Gordon has homered in three straight games for the first time in his career. He did so out of the No. 3 spot in the batting order yesterday, his first game there this season (all others as No. 1).
- Robinson Cano's 19 extra-base hits this year are tied for second most in the majors, behind only Mike Napoli (23). Cano has hit safely in his last 10 games at Kauffman Stadium (13/43, .302).
- Phil Hughes has received a total of 11 runs of support in his six starts this season, tied for the second fewest runs of support per 9.0 innings in the AL (2.83; minimum 1.0 IP/Team G).
- Cano 'didn't feel respect' from Yankees
- Rangers take Seahawks' Wilson in Rule 5
- Tigers, RHP Chamberlain agree to 1 year
- Investment, liability key collision ban
- Phillies, RHP Hernandez have 1-year deal
By JEFF MEZYDLO
(AP) -- The New York Yankees hope to provide the support they could not during Hiroki Kuroda's last start and record their first road sweep of the Kansas City Royals in almost six years.
Kuroda looks to continue his strong spring while trying to help the Yankees to a season-high fifth straight win Sunday against the struggling Royals.
Kuroda (4-2, 2.30 ERA) has lasted seven innings in each of his last two starts, and his lone mistake was a two-run homer to Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez in New York's 2-0 loss at Coors Field on Tuesday.
"He pitched well enough to win, that's for sure," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
New York (22-13) had provided the right-hander with an average of 5.75 runs of support in his previous six starts, but managed four hits Tuesday.
"Kuroda threw the ball well," teammate Vernon Wells said. "We just couldn't do anything to support him."
His teammates totaled one run while he went 0-2 with a 4.66 ERA against the Royals last season.
The Yankees, however, have not lost since Kuroda's last start and are in position to sweep the Royals (18-15) in Kansas City for the first time since Sept. 7-9, 2007. Wells hit a two-run, go-ahead homer in the fifth inning and made a running catch in the gap to end Saturday's 3-2 win.
Mariano Rivera improved to 14 for 14 on save chances Saturday. The 43-year-old, who will retire at the end of the season, has converted 28 straight against the Royals. His latest came just over a year after he tore the ACL in his right knee while shagging balls in the Kauffman Stadium outfield.
"I think Mo said it best, as an athlete, you can get hurt anywhere," Girardi said. "It just happened to be here. ... I'm sure it was good for him to get out there."
Wells is batting .353 (6 for 17) with two homers and five RBIs in his last four games.
New York hopes to continue its recent success against scheduled Kansas City starter Ervin Santana (3-1, 2.36), who is 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA in eight starts against the Yankees since he pitched eight strong innings Aug. 1, 2008, for the Los Angeles Angels.
"A lot of people just try to do too much. I know they're a good team," Santana told the Royals' official website. "They're aggressive. But if you make your pitches, you're going to get them out."
The right-hander has thrived in his new home at Kauffman Stadium, where he's allowed two earned runs in 23 innings while going 2-0 in three starts.
Santana's last outing came at Baltimore on Tuesday, when he gave up three first-inning runs and lasted six while not factoring in the decision of a 4-3 loss. Seven of the 12 runs he's yielded this season have come in the first inning.
"The first inning was, like always, a little trouble, but after that I settled down, threw a lot of strikes and put guys away," he said.
Billy Butler hit his fourth home run for Kansas City, which has lost five of six since winning four in a row.
Butler is 2 for 19 with six strikeouts in the last five games.
Updated May 11, 2013