Brian Bannister and the Kansas City Royals got the best of Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod struck out four times in a game for only the fourth time in his major league career, and the Royals won their home opener 5-2 over the New York Yankees on Tuesday. In a matchup of top young pitchers, Bannister (2-0) bested Phil Hughes (0-1) as the Yankees opened a stretch that has them playing 18 of 20 games on the road.
With captain Derek Jeter sidelined for the three-game series by a strained left quadriceps, the Yankees (4-4) wasted a 2-1 second-inning lead against a team it took nine of 10 from last season. New York struck out 11 times in all, three by Jeter's replacement at shortstop, Wilson Betemit. Ross Gload drove in two runs for the Royals, who at 5-2 under new manager Trey Hillman are off to their best start since opening 2003 with nine straight wins.