"The second time through, we put a bunch of good at-bats together and got to him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've put guys on base and we've hit home runs. That's a pretty good combination."
The game-changer: Vargas was still hanging on with two out in the fourth, trailing 2-0 with two out. But with Aaron Judge and Chase Headley on base, Vargas hung a changeup to Hicks, who skied it down the left-field line near the pole. It landed fair -- The Royals successfully challenged a safe call at the plate in the fifth inning when Alex Gordon came up throwing on Sanchez's single to left with Chris Carter barreling home. The call was overturned as catcher Perez put the tag on Carter before his foot touched home plate.
Yankees: Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 4.19 ERA) will oppose the Royals in the final game of the series on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. ET. Montgomery has limited hitters to a .156 average with runners in scoring position through his first six starts.
Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy (2-3, 3.38) will take the mound in the series finale against the Yankees at 7:15 p.m. CT. Duffy took a no-decision on Friday against the Orioles -- giving up two runs over seven innings while striking out six.
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Robert Falkoff is contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Yankees on Wednesday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.