Yankees' Jose Trevino celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home...

Yankees' Jose Trevino celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Yankees took the drama out of it early.


The Yankees came into Wednesday night’s game having scored a Major League Baseball-best 51 runs in the first inning and further inflated that number with a six-run opening frame that put them on their way to an 11-5 victory over the Royals in front of 25,132 at Kauffman Stadium.

“It’s important to throw the first punch,” Giancarlo Stanton said.

The Yankees (49-21), winners in 30 of their last 39 games, received a three-run homer in the first by Jose Trevino that made it 6-0 and, later in the game, a monstrous 449-foot two-run homer in fifth from Stanton, who hit one 446 feet the night before, that made it 8-0.

Gleyber Torres’ added his sixth homer, a three-run shot, in the seventh that further opened up what already was a rout, making it 11-2 en route to the Yankees’ fourth straight win.

“I think that’s huge for any team,” Trevino said of the scoring-first spree the Yankees have been on. “You want to be the ones, especially being the visitors, you want to punch first. That way your pitcher gets in there, gets comfortable and can attack the zone freely.”

Righthander Cody Poteet, brought up when Clarke Schmidt went to the injured list in late May with a lat strain, mostly cruised. The 29-year-old, who spent most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery and whom the Yankees signed to a big-league contract on Jan. 4, improved to 3-0 with a with a 2.14 ERA after allowing two runs, four hits and three walks in 5 1⁄3 innings.

“It’s just exciting, fun to watch,” Poteet said. “When you see that, you just want to go out there and pound the strike zone. They’re scoring like that early on, you just want to have a shutdown inning and get the opposing team back out there [on defense] real quick after something like that.”

The Yankees, whose bullpen made things slightly more interesting late when Ian Hamilton allowed three runs in the seventh inning (Tommy Kahnle allowed two inherited runners to score), sent nine to the plate in the six-run first as opener Dan Altavilla failed to make it out of the inning.

Anthony Volpe, in a 2-for-20 skid entering the night, banged a single back up the middle, making it 40 of his last 43 games in which he’s reached base. He then stole his team-best 13th base of the season. Volpe went 2-for-5 and is hitting .276 with a .758 OPS after hitting .209 with a .666 OPS last season.

“For him to get on at the clip he’s been and [wreaking] havoc on the bases, it’s huge,” Stanton, who has 17 homers, said of Volpe. “Stealing a bag when we need it, just being on in general all the time, it’s huge to start the game off.”

Juan Soto worked his 50th walk of the season — Soto would walk twice, get hit by a pitch and single — and Judge improved to 58 for his last 143 (.406) in his last 42 games with a single to right to load the bases. Judge entered the night having homered in eight of his last 11 games and in 16 of his previous 27.

Stanton, who finished 2-for-5, struck out looking at a 97-mph fastball, but Alex Verdugo laced a grounder past first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino for a two-run single (that probably should have been scored an error) to make it 2-0 and Torres walked to load the bases. In came lefty Daniel Lynch IV and out went the baseball as Trevino took one out to left, his sixth homer making it 6-0.

The Royals (39-30), an emerging young team but not quite yet at contender level, got on the board in the sixth on an RBI double by their star, 23-year-old shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., against Poteet (Witt added an RBI single in the seventh against Hamilton and a hit in the ninth against Caleb Ferguson). Nelson Velazquez’s sacrifice fly later in the sixth off Hamilton made it 8-2.

Torres went deep in the seventh — after Soto was hit by a pitch to lead off and Stanton singled with one out — against Lynch, who allowed six runs and seven hits in 6 2⁄3 innings after relieving Altavilla.

“That’s a good team over there,” Aaron Boone said. “I do believe it’s a complete team over there. It’s just one of those things where we’ve come in here really swinging the bats well for a few nights, and our pitching’s been able to hold them down enough.”

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