KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Considering that the Yankees entered this year with championship aspirations, they looked at a winning record as a given. Yet in recent weeks, as their postseason hopes dwindled, there was a measure of motivation in not going down as the roster to snap a three-decade streak of above-.500 seasons.
Despite falling far short of their ultimate goal, at least these Yankees can say they finished in the black. Estevan Florial lined a go-ahead single, and Gleyber Torres drove in a pair of runs as the Yanks (82-79) secured a winning record for the 31st consecutive year, posting a 5-2 victory over the Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
“It’s better than the alternative,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said earlier this week, “but we want to be playing in October.”
Oswaldo Cabrera and Everson Pereira also drove in runs for the Yankees, who have finished above the break-even mark in each season since 1993 -- the second-longest streak in AL/NL history. Only the 1926-64 Yankees enjoyed more sustained success, spanning 39 seasons.
Frankie Montas picked up the victory in relief, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his season debut after missing most of the year following right shoulder surgery. Clarke Schmidt started for New York, permitting two runs on eight hits over four innings.