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Yankees tee off on Vargas in 11-7 romp over Royals

New York's Starlin Castro beats the tag by Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Aaron Hicks hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run fourth inning, the Yankees piled up 16 hits and New York rolled to an 11-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.

Michael Pineda (4-2) allowed three runs and six hits with two walks over six-plus innings. The big right-hander was shaky throughout but good enough to win for only the second time in 16 road starts.

The Yankees teed off on Jason Vargas (5-2), who came into the game with a major league-leading 1.01 ERA. The left-hander allowed as many earned runs in the fourth as he had in his first seven starts combined, and was lifted after allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings.

Vargas had been unbeaten in his last 10 home starts.

Then again, maybe his abysmal night shouldn't have been that much of a surprise. Vargas has never beaten the Yankees in nine starts and 10 outings, going 0-6 with a 7.15 ERA.

Starlin Castro had three hits and drove in a run. Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius each had two hits and two RBIs. In fact, the only Yankees without a hit by the fifth inning were Matt Holliday and Aaron Judge, and all Judge had done was draw a pair of walks and score both times.

Holliday and Judge promptly got their base hits in the sixth.

Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer and Whit Merrifield also went deep for Kansas City, which scored three times in the ninth to make the final score more respectable.

The Yankees entered the game leading the big leagues with a plus-59 run differential, and they added to it on a windy night at Kauffman Stadium. They pounded their 59th home run through their first 37 games, and scored seven or more runs for the fourth consecutive game.

They routed the Royals 7-1 in the series opener Tuesday night.

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