Brett Gardner doubled home the tie-breaking run off Kelvin Herrera in the eighth inning, and the Yankees overcame three home runs by Lorenzo Cain to beat the reeling Royals 10-7 Tuesday night.
In a back-and-forth game, Kansas City rallied from deficits of 1-0, 5-3 and 7-6 as Cain tied his career high with five RBIs. Cheslor Cuthbert also homered for the Royals, who have hit six home runs in the first two games of the series.
But Gold Glove shortstop Alcides Escobar allowed Ben Gamel's grounder to bounce off his glove for an error with one out in the eighth, and Gardner followed with a drive to left-center off Herrera (0-1) for an 8-7 lead. Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch, and Brian McCann hit a two-run double off the fence in right-center.
Aroldis Chapman, who returned from a 29-game domestic violence suspension on Monday, followed with a hitless ninth for his first Yankees save.
New York (13-18) trailed 2-1, 3-2 and 6-5 before winning for the fourth time in five games. The Yankees are 13-3 when scoring three or more runs.
World Series champion Kansas City has lost 11 of 14, dropping two games under .500 at 15-17.
Cain hit a solo homer in the third and a three-run drive in the fifth, both off starter Masahiro Tanaka. Cain added a tying homer off Andrew Miller (2-0) leading off the eighth and became the seventh Royals player to hit three homers in a regular-season game. George Brett and John Mayberry did it twice, and Brett also accomplished the feat against the Yankees in the 1978 AL Championship Series.
Cain tied his high for RBIs, set against the Yankees on May 15 last year. With a chance to hit his fourth homer, he popped out against Chapman for the final out.
In his first start against the Royals, the only AL opponent he had not faced, Tanaka matched career highs by allowing six earned runs and three homers in seven innings.
Cuthbert's two-run shot gave the Royals a 2-1 lead in the second, his second big league home run and first since Sept. 2 against Detroit, and Cain hit an opposite-field homer to right in the third.
Chase Headley singled home a run in the bottom half, just his third RBI in 83 at-bats this season, and Didi Gregorius put the Yankees ahead 5-3 with a three-run double against reliever Brian Flynn in the third, a ball that bounced past Cain in center.
Cuthbert and Jarrod Dyson singled opening the fifth, leadoff man Alcides Escobar sacrificed and Cain hit a drive off an ad board above the visitors' bullpen in left-center. The ball would have traveled 445 feet had it landed unimpeded, according to MLB's Statcast computer program.
Dustin Ackley and Aaron Hicks drove in runs with consecutive opposite-field hits to left off Joakim Soria for a 7-6 Yankees lead in the seventh, but Cain homered over the right-field scoreboard on a hanging slider, the first run against Miller this season.
Royals starter Kris Medlen, who lost his previous three starts, was pulled with no outs in the third. He allowed four runs, six hits and three walks while throwing 54 pitches, and his ERA rose to 7.77.
Royals: A day after giving up a career-high five home runs, RHP Chris Young said he will return to Kansas City on Wednesday to have an MRI on his right forearm, which has bothered him since late in spring training. RHP Dillon Gee replaced him as Saturday's scheduled starter against Atlanta. ... LHP Mike Minor, recovering from shoulder surgery last May, made his first rehab start for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and allowed three runs — two earned — one hit and four walks while striking out four against Arkansas.
Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira was out of the starting lineup because of neck spasms and might need a day or two off.
Michael Pineda (1-3) starts for the Yankees on Wednesday night against Yordano Ventura (2-2). Pineda is winless in five starts, while Ventura has an 11.25 ERA in his last two outings, up from 2.35 in his first four.