NEW YORK — Chase Headley, Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius hit early home runs and the New York Yankees beat Kansas City 7-3 Thursday night, sending the World Series champion Royals to their 12th loss in 16 games.
Kansas City dropped three of four at Yankee Stadium. Before the game, manager Ned Yost insisted he wasn't worried about his team, saying "it's a group that doesn't panic."
Nathan Eovaldi (3-2) worked around eight hits in five innings, and overcame getting struck on the leg by Lorenzo Cain's hard one-hopper at the outset.
On Eovaldi's last pitch, Salvador Perez nearly launched a go-ahead, three-run homer, but right fielder Carlos Beltran caught the ball at the top of the wall. Eovaldi wiped his brow as he walked off the mound while Perez put both hands on the top of his helmet.
Relievers Kirby Yates and Dellin Betances each followed with a perfect inning to hold a 5-3 lead. After the Yankees scored twice more, Andrew Miller worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Chasen Shreve threw a scoreless ninth.
Alex Gordon hit a solo home run and an RBI single for Kansas City. The Royals outhit the Yankees 9-7.
Ian Kennedy (4-3) lost in his first game back in the Bronx since the Yankees traded him after the 2009 season.
Castro homered in the first, then Headley connected in the second for his first extra-base hit this season — and ending a drought of 166 at-bats without a home run dating to last year. Gregorius added a two-run drive in the fourth.
The Yankees recalled lefty reliever Tyler Olson from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and sent down outfielder Ben Gamel. On Monday, Gamel got his first hit in the majors.
Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira returned to the lineup after missing two games because of neck spasms. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts... OF Jacoby Ellsbury (hip) hasn't played since last Friday. ... LHP CC Sabathia (groin strain) is set for a bullpen session Friday.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (0-5, 6.12) tries again for his first win when he faces ace Chris Sale (7-0, 1.79) and the visiting White Sox on Friday night.