The world is a batter place when Michael Pineda is on the mound for the New York Yankees.
Making just his third start off of the disabled list, Pineda held the hottest team in baseball to just one run over 6 1/2 innings of work, as the Yankees put up six runs against James Shields en route to a 8-1 win at Kauffman Stadium on Monday night in the makeup of a June 9th rain-out.
The win extended the Yankees' winning streak to five games, as they look to climb back into the playoff race for one more shot at a ring in Derek Jeter's final season.
The Bomber struck early against Shields, taking a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning. Ichiro Suzuki reached on an infield single to open the inning, the moved to second base on the same play. After Zelous Wheeler walked to pair a of of runners on, Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a fielder's choice a second base, moving Ichiro over to third base, then Derek Jeter grounded to score Ichiro for the game's first run.
Kansas City, though, answered back in the bottom half of the inning with it's only run of the game against Pineda and the Yankees' bullpen, jumping on the board with a solo homerun from Mike Moustakas.
Stephen Drew gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the top half of the 4th inning with a solo homerun into the right field seats off of Shield -- his 6th dinger of the season.
And from there, Pineda did his thing. He retired 10 straight Royals hitters following the Moustakas homerun; it wasn't until Jarrod Dyson singled with one-out in the 6th that Kansas City would get another base runner. Pineda left with one-out in the 7th inning, having given up just one run on five hits, while striking out five and walking none on 96 pitches.
He was able to leave the game with a 6-1 lead after the Yankees scored four runs in the top of the 7th inning.
Martin Prado, the hottest bat in the Yankees' lineup lately, led off the 7th inning his 4th homerun of the season, a solo blast into the left field seats that extended the lead to 3-1. Chase Headley and Ichiro followed with back-to-back singles, then after a fielder's choice by Wheeler, Ellsbury ripped an RBI single into right field -- the 1,000th hit of his big league career -- to score Ichiro. Jeter singled a batter later, making it a 5-1 game. And then Brian McCann followed with a sac-fly to score Ellsbury, who was initially ruled out at the plate, only to have the call overturned on instant replay.
After walking Carlos Beltran, Shields was finally pulled from the game, having given up six runs on 10 hits, walking three and striking out three. Not a good night for Big Game James.
Ellsbury continued his good night, hitting a two-run homerun in the top of the 9th inning that extended the Yankees' lead to 8-1.
David Huff finished off the final two and a third innings for a the Yankees, giving up just two hits -- both singles -- as he closed out the win for the Yankees, who are now just three games back of the second AL Wild Card spot.
The Yankees now head off to Detroit, where they will open up a three game series with the Tigers, who have won four of their last five games. Rick Porcello will be on the mound for the home team, with Brandon McCarthy getting the game for the Yankees in this 7:08 p.m. ET game.