J.A. Happ pitched six outstanding innings in his debut for the New York Yankees, who beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Happ (11-6) made it to New York on Saturday after inclement weather canceled his flight from Chicago on Friday. After playing catch in between games of Saturday’s doubleheader, Happ went right to work in his debut while pitching quickly in a 96-pitch outing.
Happ allowed one run on three hits after getting traded in the days leading up to the non-waiver deadline for the fourth time in his career. He is 16-8 in 35 post-trade games (31 starts).
The veteran left-hander also won for the first time since June 25 after going 0-3 in his last four starts for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Aaron Hicks hit a two-run homer, fell a triple shy of the cycle and reached base four times as the Yankees (67-37) hit 30 games over .500 for the third time this season.
Miguel Andujar and Greg Bird added RBI singles for New York while Giancarlo Stanton lifted a sacrifice fly.
Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth for his 28th save. It was his second appearance since not getting an out against the New York Mets on July 21.
Salvador Perez, Hunter Dozier and Rosell Herrera homered for the Royals.
Burch Smith (1-2) was the third straight rookie to start for Kansas City, and he allowed five runs on five hits in four-plus innings.
The Yankees made the score 2-0 four batters into the game when Hicks dinged an 0-1 curveball off the right field foul pole. Before hitting his 17th homer, Hicks unsuccessfully attempted to bunt his way on base.
The Yankees took a 3-0 lead on Andujar’s single to left in the fourth and nearly took a 6-0 lead two batters later. Following a walk to Neil Walker, Austin Romine hit a deep line drive, but right fielder Brett Phillips made a leaping catch over the fence for the final out of the inning.
New York expanded its lead off Tim Hill when Kansas City was unable to turn a double play on a fifth-inning ground ball by Gleyber Torres. Hicks avoided the tag between first and second as Brett Gardner scored, and Bird drove in the fifth run when the Royals couldn’t make a play on his slow single to second base.
Perez ended Happ’s shutout bid in the sixth by lifting a full count fastball into the New York bullpen beyond the center field fence.
—Field Level Media