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Yanks pound Royals, 10-4

May 6, 2012

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— Luke Hochevar figures he’d better go back to square one.

If it were up to the fans in Kansas City, he’d be going back to the minors.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick was battered for seven runs in fewer than three innings by the New York Yankees on Sunday. Robinson Cano had a grand slam and Nick Swisher homered two batters later to chase him from the game in the Royals’ 10-4 loss.

“When you give up a grand slam, that’s not what you want, but then again I need to get back to square one and figure it out,” Hochevar said, “and get things going and start helping this club and not be putting us in a hole early in the game.”

Hochevar’s ERA soared to 9.00 on the season. He was yanked after 2 1/3 innings, and has allowed 16 runs and 19 hits with four walks and a hit batter his past two starts.

Expected to be the staff ace, Hochevar has been perhaps the Royals’ worst pitcher — starter or reliever — so far this season. But he’s out of options, which means he’ll likely be given much more time to straighten things out before the team makes a drastic decision.

“Obviously, this is not where I want to be,” he said. “No, it’s definitely where I want to be. I need to get back to helping the ball club and doing the things I need to do to pitch deep into games and get outs. That’s the bottom line.”

Alex Rodriguez added a three-run shot in the eighth inning for the Yankees, helping them to a four-game split. The series began with a freak, season-ending injury to All-Star closer Mariano Rivera, but ended with the Yankees’ best offensive output in a dozen games.

“Great to see that from the middle of the order,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

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