NEW YORK — So, really, what isn't now possible for the Royals?
Rookie sensation Eric Hosmer had more three hits Thursday night, including another homer, while pacing a 16-hit attack in an 11-5 spanking of the New York Yankees. That's just the start though. This one had lots of contributions from lots of folks.
And this wasn't just any victory, either.
"I found out we haven't won (a series) here since 1999," designated hitter Billy Butler said, "and it seems like I've been here for about half of that. Close enough. I've experienced a lot of failure here.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"I think it's a statement for us."
The Royals had a six-run second that marked their biggest inning in the South Bronx in nearly three decades. And that explosion carried the Royals to their first series victory at Yankee Stadium since the Clinton Administration.
"We came to New York and took two out of three from the Yankees," Hosmer said. "When you do that, things are going good. We're winning ballgames. You'll keep seeing a smile on my face when we keep winning."
The Royals were 0-13-1 in series here since the millennium changed. Before Wednesday's improbable 4-3 victory in 11 innings, the Royals had won 14 times in 69 games since baseball returned from the 1994 strike.
On Thursday, every starter had at least one hit. Eight players scored at least one run. Hosmer, Butler, Melky Cabrera and Alcides Escobar each had two RBIs. Cabrera also had a homer, while Butler broke out of a recent slump with four hits.
"This is a big deal," second baseman Mike Aviles said. "The Yankees are notorious for hitting us around pretty good. It was definitely good to turn the tables for once."
The Royals built an 8-0 lead through 3 1/2 innings for Sean O'Sullivan, who retired the first 13 Yankees before wobbling through a four-run fifth. That's the sort of inning that often keyed late-inning collapses by the Royals in previous years.
This time, the Royals struck back with a run in sixth and two in the seventh. No collapse. Alex Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the eighth against Blake Wood, but nothing more.
"Tack-on runs are always huge," manager Ned Yost said. "They put a four-spot on, and we come back and get another one that takes the momentum away."
O'Sullivan (2-2) pitched into the seventh before Wood closed out the victory.
"We have such a poor track record here," O'Sullivan said. "When I came in here today, I said, 'I'm not coming out before the seventh. No matter what.' With that approach, I tried to get as many quick outs as I could."
Hosmer's leadoff homer fueled a six-run second against Yankees starter Ivan Nova, who had allowed just five runs in his four previous starts. Nova (3-3) gave up eight runs and 10 hits in three-plus innings.
The Royals, at 20-17, have their best record through 37 games since 2003. They also closed to within 3 1/2 games of first-place Cleveland in the American League Central Division.
O'Sullivan rolled through the Yankees until Robinson Cano ignited the four-run fifth with a homer to right. Three more runs quickly followed before O'Sullivan ended the inning.
"They may be struggling a little bit," he said, "but they're still the best lineup in the league. Definitely the most experienced. But our guys picked me up."
The Royals stemmed the momentum shift when Hosmer delivered a check-swing RBI double in the sixth inning against rookie Amaury Sanit. Escobar contributed a two-run double in the eighth.
"I could not tell you how that check swing happened," Hosmer said. "I saw the changeup and tried to hold back. Somehow, it found my bat, and my eyes lit up when I saw it go into left field."
Back to the six-run second.
Hosmer led off with a no-doubt homer on a first-pitch fastball from Nova. Wilson Betemit followed with a single through the right side before the Yankees turned sloppy.
Matt Treanor hit what looked to be a double-play grounder to second, but Cano's errant throw pulled shortstop Eduardo Nunez away from second. Both runners were safe.
A passed ball moved the runners to second and third, but both held when Escobar grounded weakly to third. Aviles worked the count to 3-0 before beating out an infield single to third.
Betemit scored for a 2-0 lead, while Treanor took third. Cabrera followed with a slicing double to left that made it 3-0. Catcher Francisco Cervelli tried to pick off Cabrera at second (-) and might have done so with a good throw.
Instead, the ball bounced into center field for another error. Aviles scored, and Cabrera took third.
After Alex Gordon walked, Butler hit a routine hopper back to Nova for what should have been a double play. Instead, Nova dropped the ball and settled for an out at first, which allowed Cabrera to score and moved Gordon to second.
The Royals capitalized further on that mistake when Francoeur drove an RBI single through the right side for a 6-0 lead. The inning ended when Hosmer lined out to right.
Six runs on seven hits with two errors, a passed ball and two botched double-play opportunities. And lots of boos from the crowd of 41,790.
It was the Royals' single biggest inning in New York since an eight-run sixth inning on June 6, 1982 in a 14-1 victory. That's the first Reagan Administration.
"What tonight showed is we're going to keep coming at you," Aviles said. "That's hasn't always been true here, and that's the difference in this team."