Hammel's struggles stretch to start vs. Yanks

Hammel's struggles stretch to start vs. Yanks

KANSAS CITY -- Two starts ago, Royals right-hander Jason Hammel went exclusively to the stretch for his delivery and the results were encouraging: six innings in a win over the Indians.

Hammel was relieved that he'd found something repeatable. But that feeling has been short-lived. He was roughed up for the second straight outing, this time by the Yankees in a 7-1 loss on Tuesday night. Hammel gave up five runs in six innings and his ERA ballooned to 6.20.

"The last two starts have been homers [that have hurt]," Hammel said. "The Tampa game, I gave up two home runs and that was four runs. Here it was five runs on two homers.

"I have to keep the ball in the park. Those guys are mistake killers."

Gary Sanchez hit a three-run bomb in the third and Chris Carter hit a two-run shot in the fourth for the Yankees.

Sanchez's three-run home run

"I was trying to get a heater down and away [to Sanchez] and it just came back over the plate," Hammel said. "The one to Carter was a slider that looked more like a cutter. My slider wasn't that good."

The other issue was that Hammel didn't strike anyone out through six innings, his first no-strikeout game in eight starts.

"He did a nice job of getting two strikes on guys, but couldn't put guys away," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was a fight for him."

Hammel agreed.

"I got two strikes today and couldn't put anyone away," Hammel said. "They worked their way back into the count."

Overall, Hammel said he'll simply have to continue to search for answers.

"I've got to find a better way of establishing a better tone early," he said. "I've got to throw quality starts, and keep the ball down, get some ground balls. That's who I am."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.