NEW YORK (AP) — Greg Bird homered to begin a two-run rally in the eighth inning as the New York Yankees survived a rough outing by newly acquired reliever Zach Britton and a tumble by CC Sabathia, beating the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Saturday for a split of their day-night doubleheader.
The Royals won the opener 10-5, tagging All-Star ace Luis Severino for six runs in 4 1/3 innings. The doubleheader was caused by a rainout Friday.
Bird opened the eighth with a drive off Brian Flynn (2-2) that made it 4-all. The Yankees went on to load the bases and Aaron Hicks hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Aroldis Chapman, in his first appearance since throwing only three of 19 pitches for strikes last weekend against the Mets, worked around a leadoff single and a walk for his 27th save. He struck out Whit Merrifield to strand runners at the corners.
Britton, traded from Baltimore to New York this week, had thrown a perfect inning Thursday in his Yankees debut. But after he retired the first two batters in the seventh, the Royals loaded the bases against the All-Star reliever on two hits and a walk.
Britton then walked ninth-place batter Drew Butera on four bases, forcing home a run that put Kansas City ahead 4-3 and drawing boos from the crowd.
Two innings earlier, Sabathia fell while fielding a soft grounder. The big lefty landed awkwardly trying to make the play on the first base side of the mound, his right knee hitting the grass and creating a large divot.
Manager Aaron Boone and a trainer quickly came out to check on Sabathia, but he stayed in the game after throwing one warmup pitch. Pitching on 13 days' rest — because of rainouts and the All-Star break — and for the first time since turning 38 last Saturday, he allowed two runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Dellin Betances (2-3) threw a scoreless eighth.
Shane Robinson gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead with in the fourth when he homered into the left-field seats off rookie starter Heath Fillmyer. It was Robinson's seventh career homer and first since June 4, 2016, while with St. Louis.
Salvador Perez homered for the Royals, who traded cornerstone third baseman Mike Moustakas to Milwaukee for outfielder Brett Phillips and right-hander Jorge Lopez late Friday night.
In his third career start, Fillmyer gave up three runs on five hits in five innings.
Trying for his major league-leading 15th win, Severino instead was pulled after Lucas Duda's two-run homer made it 6-0 in the fifth. Rosell Hererra hit an early two-run double, and Perez had a two-run single that set up Duda.
Severino (14-4) allowed eight hits, walked one and struck out five in his shortest start of the year.
The Royals extended a string of rough outings for the 24-year-old anchor of the Yankees rotation.
Severino has given up 19 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings over his last four starts.
Aided by three double plays, rookie Brad Keller (4-4) went 5 2/3 innings for the win one day after his 23rd birthday.
Royals: LHP Eric Skoglund made his second rehab start for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and allowed four runs in five innings while throwing 78 pitches. He has been on the 60-day DL since May 26 with an elbow sprain.
Yankees: Bird was hit on the right knee in the first inning. Trainer Steve Donahue briefly checked on him, but Bird stayed in the game and flied out to the warning track in his next at-bat.
Royals: RHP Burch Smith (1-1, 5.58 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season. He earned his first win since 2013 by allowing two runs on one hit in 6 1/3 innings Tuesday against Detroit.
Yankees: LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.18) will make his debut after being acquired from Toronto on Thursday. According to Stats, he is the fourth pitcher to make starts for the Toronto and New York in the same season. The last was current Yankees broadcaster David Cone in 1995. He is 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA in seven career starts against Kansas City.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
for more features.