KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander CC Sabathia made his second straight strong start, giving up just one run over seven innings, and Chase Headley delivered a three-run homer off struggling Royals starter Danny Duffy as the Yankees snapped a four-game losing streak in a 5-1 win on Saturday night.
Sabathia (2-5) gave up one run and walked none against the aggressive-swinging Royals, needing just 87 pitches to navigate through seven.
"Hopefully I can just keep this going," Sabathia said. "I feel good, I've got no problems. Hopefully I can just keep going out there and give us a chance to win."
Headley belted a 3-2 changeup into the left-field bullpen, breaking a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning, his fifth homer this season. Alex Rodriguez added his 10th homer in the ninth inning.
"It's not like we've been not having good at-bats, we just haven't been able to get the big hit," Headley said. "We've had opportunities and we just haven't driven anybody in. That's going to happen throughout the course of the season. Tonight, it was nice to be able to come through with that swing."
Duffy, after leaving when the fifth inning was over, was seen having words with home-plate umpire John Tumpane. Duffy had been hoping to get the call on a 2-2 pitch, saying, "It was close." Headley disagreed, calling it "a clear ball."
"It was a good pitch, he got me to check-swing at it, but it was a ball," Headley said. "I looked at it on film and it was a ball. It was a competitive pitch, but more so if I would have swung at it, obviously."
Duffy, who had lasted just a combined 4 2/3 innings in his previous two starts, wobbled through five innings, requiring a season-high 113 pitches. He walked four, and gave up four hits and four runs. More >
"The previous two outings, he was really fighting his feel and touch," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was just rearing back and firing. If you're looking on the bright side, he was better, but the results were not there.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED CC you later: Sabathia appeared to be on the ropes in the third inning as three singles loaded the bases with none out. Moustakas lifted a sacrifice fly and Sabathia rebounded with a vintage performance to escape the inning, freezing Lorenzo Cain looking and striking out Eric Hosmer swinging in a well-fought at-bat that very nearly resulted in a pair of RBI doubles down the left-field line. One of Hosmer's flares down the left-field line missed hitting the chalk by perhaps a half-inch. More >
"C.Y. [left fielder Chris Young] gave a great effort, but I saw it pretty good that it was foul," Sabathia said.
Thrill of the Chase: Headley's bat has slowed during this road trip, but he caught a little lightning in the fifth inning, catching up to Duffy's 3-2 pitch -- an 84-mph changeup -- and slugging it into the Kansas City bullpen for a three-run homer. The blast came with Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran aboard and traveled an estimated 394 feet. It was a welcome sight for the Yankees, who avoided being limited to two runs or fewer in four straight games for the first time since July 1991. More >
"You're facing a club that has an extremely strong bullpen, you don't want to get behind to this club, and he gets a huge hit," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's something he's done since he got here, he's come up with some big plays defensively and some big plays offensively."
Blanton back to the bigs: Right-hander Joe Blanton, 34, who had not pitched in the Majors since Sept. 2013, made a relief appearance for the Royals on the day his contract was selected from Triple-A Omaha. Blanton worked out of a jam after giving up a double to the first hitter he faced, Stephen Drew, and a sacrifice bunt. But Blanton got a groundout to second, then benefited from a great defensive play when Moustakas, at third base, dived and deflected a grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who threw in time to first after a nice scoop by Hosmer. Blanton worked three scoreless innings before surrendering Rodriguez's homer in the ninth. More >
"Blanton did a nice job," Yost said. "We have a full 'pen now for [Sunday's rubber game]. He commands the baseball, he's on the attack. He gets quick outs with his stuff."
Girardi challenged a safe call at second base in the fifth inning when third baseman Headley threw high to second baseman Jose Pirela on an attempted force. The original ruling was that Pirela came off the base and the baserunner was safe. After the challenge, the call was overturned in 58 seconds.
"I knew it was going to be really close. I'm glad it went our way," Headley said. "It's a split-second one way or the other. Obviously that was a big turning point for us when it did change."
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Left-hander Chris Capuano (3-4, 4.35 ERA last season) will make his 2015 debut on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. ET in the finale of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Capuano sustained a strained right quadriceps during Spring Training and last pitched on Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (2-3, 3.19 ERA) takes the hill on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. Volquez is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA at The K. The blister on his right thumb that surfaced two starts ago appears to be healed.