A lack of sticky stuff didn’t seem to bother Gerrit Cole at all.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga followed with his worst performance of the season.
The right-hander allowed four runs in the eighth inning, as the Yankees blew a late lead to lose to Kansas City, 6-5, on Tuesday in The Bronx, as a ninth-inning threat fell short.
They had taken the lead in the bottom of the seventh, when Luke Voit tripled and pinch-runner Tyler Wade scored on a wild pitch.
After Cole delivered seven strong innings in the team’s first game with umpires checking pitchers to enforce the rule prohibiting the use of foreign substances, the Yankees seemed to have the Royals just where they wanted as they looked for a sixth win in seven games.
But Loaisiga, who entered the game with a 14 ¹/₃-inning scoreless streak over 11 appearances, was knocked around.
With the spin rate on his curveball down significantly (2,442 RPMs compared to yearly average of 2,635), he gave up a leadoff single to Whit Merrifield and a double off the wall in left to Carlos Santana before getting Salvador Perez looking. But the Royals tied it on an infield single by Ryan O’Hearn.
Jarrod Dyson followed with a grounder to second. Wade hesitated before he threw home late and Santana beat the throw to put Kansas City up, 4-3.
Hunter Dozier and Michael A. Taylor added run-scoring singles to pad the lead.
DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to bring the Yankees to within a run, and Aaron Judge followed with a double to the wall in left-center.
Rougned Odor, pinch hitting for Wade, popped to first for the second out. Giancarlo Stanton grounded out to end the inning. And the Yankees failed to score in the ninth.
Gio Urshela started the ninth with a flare single to right. Urshela, hit in the leg earlier in the game, was lifted for pinch-runner Miguel Andujar. Gleyber Torres struck out, but the ball got away from catcher Perez and Urshela moved to second.
Clint Frazier struck out before Gary Sanchez was walked intentionally to bring up Brett Gardner, who popped out to end the game.
The Yankees took an early lead when Voit drilled the first pitch he saw after returning from the injured list into the left-field seats. His second homer of the season gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead with two outs in the bottom of the first.
Kyle Higashioka led off the second with a homer, but they stranded a pair of runners, as Voit popped out and Stanton whiffed with two on.
Cole, after not being checked by the umpires for foreign substances after either of the first two innings, allowed a pair of soft, opposite-field singles with one out in the third. A Merrifield grounder to second drove in Taylor for Kansas City’s first run.
He got out of the inning with no more issues and was checked following the inning. The check, performed by home plate umpire Brian Knight and crew chief Bill Miller, was uneventful and lasted a few seconds, while the crowd booed.
The Royals tied it when Cole opened the fourth by allowing a home run to O’Hearn. Cole retired nine straight after that homer.
Kansas City starter Brady Singer walked the bases loaded with two out in the fourth before being replaced by Kris Bubic. Stanton grounded the first pitch he saw from Bubic to third for the final out.
Cole walked Jorge Soler to lead off the seventh and then lost Taylor on a 3-2 pitch that should have been a strike before he struck out Nicky Lopez with a 100 mph fastball on his 108th pitch of the night.
Voit sent a long fly ball to left off Jake Brentz with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Dyson leaped to make the catch, but missed it and the ball hit a fan who leaned over the fence in left.
Voit ended up on third and remained there after the umpires discussed the play. Wade pinch ran for Voit and scored on a wild pitch by Brentz.
Despite a walk by Stanton and Urshela getting hit by a pitch, the Yankees didn’t score again that inning, as Torres struck out and Frazier grounded out.