KANSAS CITY — Carlos Rodón’s shoulders slumped, his uniform top soaked with sweat, as he handed the baseball to manager Aaron Boone and began a slow and seemingly dazed trudge toward the visitors’ dugout. Gazing toward the seating area, the Yankees’ pitcher mouthed one word: “Wow.”
Wow, indeed. Rodón faced eight batters and could not retire any in a nightmarish first inning, concluding his disappointing first season with the Yankees with an 12-5 loss to the Royals on Friday evening at Kauffman Stadium.
Signed to a six-year, $162 million contract this past offseason after starring for the Giants, Rodón finished his first campaign as a Yankee with a 3-8 record and 6.85 ERA in 14 starts. Sidelined this spring with back tightness, Rodón didn’t make his debut until July 7, then missed time in mid-August with a left hamstring strain.
The worst inning of Rodón’s career featured six hits, including a two-run Edward Olivares homer, and two walks. With Rodón lifted after 35 pitches (21 strikes), three inherited runners came around to score against reliever Matt Bowman.
The 10 Royals to reach base opening a game established a new Kansas City franchise record, surpassing their mark of eight (May 8, 2018, vs. the Orioles). It equaled the record for a Yankees opponent; 10 straight Cleveland batters reached on July 27, 1978, vs. Catfish Hunter and Bob Kammeyer.