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Royals rue rainout in finale vs Yankees as they appear to be finally hitting their stride

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The fact that the Royals seemed to be finally hitting their stride was not lost on manager Ned Yost as he left his office, ambled down the tunnel and peered out into the rain on Monday.

"When you're playing well," he said, "you don't like rainouts."

Still, Yost acknowledged that there were benefits to having the game against the New York Yankees postponed, a decision made about two hours before the scheduled first pitch. He was already planning to rest catcher Salvador Perez, and guys such as Omar Infante who have been scuffling will also get the day off.

"There are pros and cons to it," Yost said.

The game will be made up Aug. 25 at a time to be determined.

Yost said he plans to slide his rotation back one day. Left-hander Jason Vargas, who was supposed to finish up the four-game series against New York, will now start the opener of a two-game set Tuesday against Cleveland. Right-hander Yordano Ventura is on the mound Wednesday.

The Royals are off on Thursday, giving everyone another chance to rest.

Meanwhile, Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka flew ahead to Seattle in anticipation of starting Tuesday, but manager Joe Girardi also plans to push his rotation back a day. That means left-hander Vidal Nuno will start the opener against the Mariners and Tanaka will pitch Wednesday.

There have been signs the last couple weeks that Kansas City is starting to come out of its early season funk, though, and that resurgence has roughly coincided with some changes to the coaching staff when the team was in Toronto. Pedro Grifol was removed as the hitting coach and the job given to Dale Sveum, who once helped to tutor Milwaukee's young power hitters.

"They've done a better job with their approach, getting pitches up, putting good swings on them. When you have a team you believe in there's a point where it's going to click somewhere," Yost said. "Maybe it clicked in Toronto, I don't know."

Since leaving Toronto, the Royals have won five of their last seven games. Twice they've piled up eight runs, which matched the third-most they've scored in any game all season.

That's the kind of turnaround the Yankees would like to see.

The Bronx Bombers will be taking their slingshot offence to Seattle and Oakland to continue what has already been a disappointing trip. The Yankees won the opener against Kansas City 4-2, but then struggled again to score runs in an 8-4 loss on Saturday and a 2-1 defeat Sunday.

"The one thing you can't do is you can't necessarily change everything," Yankees manager Jo Girardi said. "You look at what guys have done in the past, you look at what guys are doing this year, and you try to piece together what you feel is the best lineup every day.

"We've struggled the last three or four weeks scoring runs. We know we need to score more," he continued, "but guys are going through a time. You just have to ride it out a little bit."

The Yankees, in the bottom half of the league in several offensive categories, have failed to score more than four runs each of their past 10 games, winning just three times in that stretch.

"You are usually not as bad as you look when things are going bad," said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who was 0 for 4 on Sunday. "It's like you're usually not as good as you look when things are going good. But we've got to turn it around."

NOTES: Girardi had planned to give CF Jacoby Ellsbury the day off after he reported some soreness in his hip. But the manager expected Ellsbury to play in Seattle. "We're not concerned about it," Girardi said. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira was penciled into the lineup before the rainout. He was held out of the lineup Sunday because of a sore wrist but pinch hit in the ninth inning. ... The Royals optioned RHP Wilking Rodriguez to Triple-A Omaha and recalled left-hander Donnie Joseph, who spent time with the club in April but did not appear in a game.

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