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Yankees throttle Royals in all-around dominant effort

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals are on a roll, and their starting pitchers entered the game with the fifth-best ERA in all of baseball.

Entering Tuesday’s play, they had scored 331 runs, fourth-most in the major leagues, and are a threat in the AL Central and comfortably in position for a wild-card spot.

But the team destined for October baseball looked like amateurs compared to the powerhouse from the Bronx.

Aaron Judge hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning of the Yankees’ crushing 10-1 win over the Royals. AP

The Yankees outplayed the Royals, 10-1, at Kauffman Stadium, and had plenty going for them with their strong offense, hitting three home runs, and their flawless defense helped Marcus Stroman and his relievers, and they again excelled in every other way.

The Yankees (48-21) won the first two games of a four-game series, have won 11 of 13 and continue to treat the AL Central the same way Aaron Judge treats baseballs.

Judge’s 25th homer, his major league-leading number, improved the Yankees to 16-1 this season against the Royals, Twins, White Sox, Guardians and Tigers.

The Yankees had led every inning of this series and again quickly attacked Kansas City’s starting pitchers.

A triple by Anthony Volpe, a walk by Juan Soto and a fly single by Judge set the tone for Brady Singer as the Yankees took a lead in the first inning and held on to it the rest of the way.

The team added another run on a grounder by Giancarlo Stanton that was caught by third baseman Michael Garcia, who tried to get Soto out at home plate, but Soto made a smart slide to score.

Austin Wells hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning of the Yankees’ win and was congratulated by third base coach Luis Rojas. Peter Aiken – USA TODAY Sports

In the fourth inning, Gleyber Torres hit a one-run single and then Austin Wells hit a three-run homer to put the team up by six, putting the game on the line for good measure.

The Yankees added another run in the sixth inning before making a comedic blunder in the seventh.

Judge hit his fourth home run in the past three games, a two-run homer, and then Stanton blasted an unquestionable 446-foot homer to center field.

They certainly appreciated it, but Stroman and the bullpen didn’t need that luxury.

Giancarlo Stanton was all smiles after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning of the Yankees’ win. Getty Images

Stroman induced ground ball after ground ball (11 ground outs, three fly outs) and pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just four hits and three walks while lowering his ERA to 2.82.

Stroman induced just four whiffs, relying on soft contact (which he got) and good defense behind him (which he got).

The Yankees are statistically one of the best defensive teams in baseball, and they played that way again.

In the top of the second inning, Nelson Velazquez hit a ball with a short hop, but Volpe got around to it, picked it up on the outfield grass and timed it just right to make a powerful throw to first base.

Marcus Stroman, who pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, left the game during the Yankees’ win and then took his uniform off. Getty Images

In the fourth inning, first baseman Anthony Rizzo made a miraculous basket catch: He retreated to right-center field, turned his back to home plate and stuck out his glove.

A Salvador Pérez popup hit the heel of Rizzo’s mitt, and Rizzo stumbled to the grass and lay there for a moment.

In the next inning, Kyle Isbell tripled to right field with two outs, becoming the first Royals batter to reach third base against Stroman.

But first the mind and then the glove of Oswaldo Cabrera helped Stroman, blocking a foul bunt by Garcia in the final seconds and then getting Garcia out with a chopper to end the inning.

Stroman also got some help from the bullpen.

In the sixth inning, Drew Waters singled and walked two batters to load the bases with two outs, and Aaron Boone handed the ball off to Ron Marinaccio.

The recently promoted pitcher needed four pitches to strike out Waters and leave three runners on base.

Marinaccio pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing only a solo home run to Freddie Firmin in the eighth inning before Victor Gonzalez closed out the game that had ended just hours earlier.

In the end, the Royals put a fielder (Nick Pratt) on the mound.

In the end, the Yankees let their superstars (Judge and Soto) rest in the dugout after being replaced a few innings earlier.

A possible playoff matchup would be the varsity team versus the freshman team.