NEW YORK — James Shields wiggled out of early trouble and got home run help from Billy Butler and David Lough as the Kansas City Royals sent the New York Yankees to their third straight loss, 3-1 Tuesday night.
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain contributed four nifty catches, defensive replacement Elliot Johnson ranged a long way for a grounder and Kansas City backed Shields (4-6) with a pair of double plays.
Fittingly, the game ended on a fine, twisting grab by another defensive sub, third baseman Mike Moustakas.
CC Sabathia (9-7) gave up seven hits in his second complete game.
Once again, the Yankees had trouble scoring. They’ve managed exactly one run in each of their last three games — not since 2005 had they scored one run or fewer in three straight, STATS said.
The hitting slump left the Yankees with a three-game home losing streak for the first time since they dropped four in a row in late July 2012.
Lough led off the sixth inning with a tying home run and Butler opened the seventh with a go-ahead shot. Butler hit 29 homers last year and was an All-Star, but has slumped this season — he came into this series with six homers before connecting in the first two games.
Beset by a lack of run support, Shields had won just once in his previous 12 starts, and came in with a losing record despite a 3.23 ERA and ranking among the AL leaders in several pitching categories.
Shields gave up five hits — including three consecutive singles to start the game — in seven innings. He struck out five, walked two and retired his final 13 batters.
Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 22nd save, and second in two nights.
The Royals are trying to win a series at Yankee Stadium for only the second time since the beginning of the 2000 season. Thanks to Shields and the bullpen, they’re 2-0 in this four-game set.
Shields improved to 8-15 against the Yankees after overcoming a rocky start. Brett Gardner led off with a bunt single and Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano also singled for a run. New York loaded the bases with one out, but Shields fanned Lyle Overbay and then escaped when Cain ran down Eduardo Nunez’s drive to deep right-center.
Shields didn’t give up a hit after the second inning, sometimes pitching in rain and even hail.
Sabathia allowed only one hit until Lough homered. Butler’s shot was the 20th homer yielded by Sabathia this season, second-most in the majors to the 21 off Kansas City’s Jeremy Guthrie.
Phillies 4, Nationals 2: PHILADELPHIA — Cole Hamels threw eight sharp innings, Michael Young hit a two-run double and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Tuesday night for their third straight win.
Hamels (4-11) allowed one run and six hits to win his second consecutive start for the first time this season. The three-time All-Star lefty has struggled in his first full year after signing a $144 million contract extension last July.
Jayson Werth hit a solo homer for Washington. The defending NL East champs have lost two straight and are only 1 1/2 games ahead of third-place Philadelphia.
The Phillies have won six of their past eight games, including consecutive series victories over first-place Pittsburgh and Atlanta, to move within one game of .500 at 45-46.
Cardinals 9, Astros 5: ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright picked up his National League-tying 12th win with seven scoreless innings and Matt Holliday hit his team-high 13th home run to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-5 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
Matt Carpenter had three hits and drove in three runs for St. Louis, which has won four in a row and five of six.
Houston dropped its ninth in the last 11 and leads the majors with 58 losses.
Wainwright (12-5) allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked one in improving to 13-1 in 15 career starts against Houston. He is tied with Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann (12-3) for most wins in the NL.
The Cardinals battered former nemesis Bud Norris (6-8) for seven runs and 11 hits in five innings. Norris entered the game with an 8-5 mark and a 2.74 ERA against St. Louis.