NEW YORK -- Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer and Lorenzo Cain continued to swing a hot bat, contributing a two-run single that helped the Royals defeat the Yankees, 7-3, on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Perez's fifth homer of the season came as part of a four-run first inning against Michael Pineda, who settled down to work into the sixth but was charged with six runs in all. Nick Goody surrendered Cain's sharp single to center field in the sixth, and Kendrys Morales hit a seventh-inning homer off Phil Coke as Kansas City celebrated just its fourth victory in 15 games.
"He pitched great," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Ventura. "He had a good curveball and threw it effectively and used it for strikes.
"He limited the damage really well. We didn't have any long guy today, and we needed him to at least get us [to] the fifth."
"Tomorrow we have an important game," Beltran said. "It would be great to win the series against the World [Series] champions. I think if we're capable of doing that, it's going to be positive for us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stay hot, LoCain: Cain came into the game with 10 hits in his previous 23 at-bats, including three homers here on Tuesday. Cain provided some big separation when he ripped a two-run single up the middle with the bases loaded in the sixth, swelling the Royals' lead to 6-3. Amazingly, that was the Royals' first hit with the bases loaded this season. Cain enters Thursday's finale with seven RBIs in this series.
"We've been definitely scuffling as a team, so that was big for us to get some more runs there," Cain said.
Afterward, the familiar postgame victory party music returned to the Royals' clubhouse.
"Today, if you were standing in our clubhouse [before the game], you could hear their laughter," Yost said. "I love to hear that sound because that tells me they're loose. And I really love to hear [the postgame party music], too."
Missed chances: Ventura did a good job of stifling opportunities for the Yanks, who had Aaron Hicks at third base with one out in the fourth inning but couldn't get him home. Brian McCann's fifth-inning grounder brought in a run, trimming New York's deficit to 4-3, but the Yanks stranded the tying run at third in the form of Starlin Castro as Beltran and Dustin Ackley grounded out.
K-boom: Morales has been in a massive slump lately and entered the game just 3-of-19 on this road trip, his overall average plummeting to .193. But the switch-hitter, batting right-handed in the seventh, launched a liner into the right-field seats for his fourth homer this year. And that is the key -- batting right-handed, the side from which Morales was hitting .321 with a .394 on-base percentage this season entering the game. Hitting from the left side, Morales was hitting just .154 with a .188 on-base percentage.
Pineda can't finish: Pineda did an admirable job of settling down after the first inning, and with No. 9 hitter Jarrod Dyson due up and two outs in the sixth, the Yankees trusted the right-hander to end the frame. Instead, Pineda jumped in frustration as Dyson blooped a soft single into left field on Pineda's 114th pitch. A one-run deficit soon became three as Goody entered, hit a batter and then lost a hard-fought at-bat with Cain.
"The bridge to those [late-relief] guys is extremely important," Girardi said. "Goody had pitched extremely well up to that point. He did not tonight. [Coke] kind of saved our bullpen a little bit tonight. With the three one-inning guys that you want to use when the games are really close, those other guys need to step up and bridge the gap. Tonight, we weren't able to do it." More >
"I was thinking about [the overtaxed bullpen]. I knew I had to go deep into the game and help the bullpen. It needed help." -- Ventura, on the Royals' need for a quality start
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (4-2, 2.13 ERA), the Royals' hottest starter, takes the mound in Thursday's 6:05 p.m. CT series finale. Kennedy was terrific in his last outing, throwing seven scoreless innings and striking out six against the Indians in Saturday's 7-0 win.
Yankees:Nathan Eovaldi (2-2, 4.78 ERA) draws the call as the Yankees and Royals conclude their four-game series. Eovaldi pitched a gem his last time out, limiting the Red Sox to two runs and six hits over eight innings as he picked up his second victory of the season.