The Yankees used a portable fog machine and strobe lights as part of a celebration in their clubhouse after finishing their two-game sweep of the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
They got back to work Thursday night feeling better about themselves, hoping they could get to .500 and then go on a little run with the rebuilding Royals in town for the start of a four-game series.
But the fog that has enveloped the Yankees in 2019 has not lifted. Homer Bailey and two relievers held the Yankees to four hits in a 6-1 Royals victory at the Stadium.
“Any time we come and lose and get shut down, it’s always disappointing, it’s always frustrating,” Aaron Boone said. “I don’t necessarily look at it as where we are [in the schedule] as much as we’re trying to get this thing rolling as best we can . . . But tonight we just got shut down.”
Bailey (2-1), who went 1-14 for the Reds last season but has two no-hitters in his past, allowed one run and three hits in six innings for the Royals (7-12). “For the most part, he kept us pretty silent,” Boone said.
Domingo German (3-1) allowed three runs in six innings for the Yankees, who fell to 8-10. The early part of their schedule was supposed to include the possibility of a lot of postgame fog machine parties, but it hasn’t worked out that way against teams that struggled in 2018.
Of course, the Yankees can point to all the injuries they’ve suffered to explain their woes. For example, it’s a nice story that undrafted free agent Mike Ford made his major-league debut as the designated hitter Thursday, but that’s not how this team was constructed in the offseason.
Ford, 26, went 0-for-3 with a walk.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first on one-out doubles by Adalberto Mondesi and Alex Gordon. The Yankees tied it in the bottom half when Aaron Judge singled, moved to third on a single by Luke Voit and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gleyber Torres.
Jorge Soler led off the second with a 336-foot home run to left to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead.
The Royals did their part to aid the Yankees when Soler and centerfielder Billy Hamilton collided and missed a short fly to right-center hit by Clint Frazier leading off the bottom of the second. Soler was charged with an error for impeding what would have been an easy catch for Hamilton. Frazier, running hard all the way, slid into second.
But Bailey got Ford to fly out to right in his first big-league at-bat, retired Austin Romine on a fly to center and got Tyler Wade to ground to second. The Royals’ gift was returned unopened.
Ryan O’Hearn led off the fourth with an opposite-field homer to left-center to make it 3-1.
German struck out the side and had nine strikeouts and no walks in his fourth start. “Just not quite as sharp,” Boone said. “Still flashed his good stuff, so he was able to keep us in the game.”
The Royals made it 5-1 in the seventh on an RBI double by Whit Merrifield off Jonathan Holder and a sacrifice fly by Mondesi off Zack Britton. Mondesi hit another sacrifice fly off Joseph Harvey in the ninth.
Frazier singled in the fourth, Wade walked in the fifth, Ford walked in the seventh, Voit walked leading off the ninth and Frazier singled two outs later.
That was the Yankees’ offense from innings three through nine. Ford ended it by looking at a possibly outside 3-and-2 pitch against former Yankee Ian Kennedy. The fog machine and strobe lights stayed off.