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No Pop in the Clutch for Yankees

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at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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By RONALD BLUM   AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Felipe Paulino blanked New York for the second
time in a month, and Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur hit two-run
homers to lead the Kansas City Royals over the reeling Yankees 6-0
on Monday night.

New York’s bats fizzled once again, going 0 for 13 with runners
in scoring position with five strikeouts and a foulout. Booed
repeatedly by their increasingly impatient fans, the Yankees lost
for the sixth time in seven games. At 21-21, they have their worst
record at this point in the season since they started 20-25 in 2008
_ the only time since 1994 that New York failed to make the
playoffs.

Batting cleanup for the first time in his big league career,
Moustakas homered in the first inning off Hiroki Kuroda (3-6), a
drive that clanked high off the right-field foul pole.

Eric Hosmer added an RBI double in the third, and Francoeur
homered into the visitor’s bullpen in the seventh on Freddy
Garcia’s second pitch of the night as the Royals opened a nine-game
trip by beating the Yankees for the third time in five meetings
this year.

In a sign of the Yankees’ frustration, Garcia threw a
run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth, then spiked the ball in
disgust. In the sixth, Mark Teixeira put both hands on his head
incredulously after throwing late to third on Irving Falu’s
grounder instead of taking the sure out at first.

On a rainy, misty evening, Paulino (2-1) became the first
starter to pitch shutout ball against the Yankees in consecutive
outings since Boston’s Josh Beckett on April 10 and May 14 last
year, according to STATS LLC. Following up on his six innings of
four-hit ball on May 5, Paulino allowed six hits in 6 2-3 innings,
struck out eight and walked two.

Kuroda had his second straight poor outing, leaving his ERA at
4.56. He allowed three runs, seven hits and three walks in 5 1/3
innings, failing to retire the side in order in an inning. After
adding Andy Pettitte to the rotation and sending Garcia to the
bullpen, pressure may increase on New York to make another move,
such as signing free agent Roy Oswalt.

Paulino stranded a runner in the third base in the first when
Raul Ibanez fouled out. The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs
in the third, but Robinson Cano took a called third strike, Alex
Rodriguez struck out swinging and Ibanez flied out to the
left-field warning track. The Yankees are 7 for 37 (.189) with the
bases loaded this season, and the empty night at the plate left
them 6 for 72 (.083) with runners in scoring position in their last
nine games.

Russell Martin’s groundout stranded a runner at third in the
fourth. New York advanced another runner to third with one out in
the sixth, but Nick Swisher and Teixeira fanned. Then in the
seventh, Cano hit into an inning-ending forceout with two on.

After missing three starts because of a bronchial illness,
Teixeira was dropped as low as seventh in the batting order for the
first time since May 2004 and went 1 for 4. By the time Derek Jeter
hit a game-ending lineout, completing a seven-hitter, only a few
thousand fans remained.

Notes: Kansas City 2B Chris Getz left in the fifth after
aggravating a bruised rib on his left side. He was tagged out at
second in the fourth inning trying to stretch a single. …
Rodriguez hit his 500th double. … Kansas City has three shutouts.
… The Yankees were blanked for the fourth time. … New York’s
Phil Hughes (3-5) starts against Luke Hochevar (3-4) on Tuesday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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