KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Frankie Montas earned the win out of the bullpen in his season debut for New York, and the Yankees clinched their 31st straight winning season with one game to spare by beating the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Saturday night.
Gleyber Torres drove in a pair of runs driving in a pair of runs in a three-run sixth inning.
Oswaldo Cabrera, Everson Pereira and Estevan Florial also drove in runs as the Yankees (82-79) assured a winning record with a game to spare after falling six games below .500 last month. That’s the second-longest streak in major league history behind their own 39-year run from 1926-64.
Montas had surgery on his labrum in late February and spent all season working his way back. He made a pair of rehab outings recently and accompanied the Yankees to Kansas City with the hopes of appearing in at least one game this season.
Montas retired four batters while allowing two hits and a walk. He left with one out and runners on second and third in the sixth inning, but Greg Weissert promptly struck out Nick Pratto and Maikel Garcia to end the threat.
Clay Holmes pitched a perfect ninth for his 24th save in 27 chances.
Alec Marsh (3-9) replaced opener Steven Cruz and allowed three runs on six hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings for Kansas City, which fell to 55-106 and matched the 2005 team for the most losses in a season in club history.
The Royals, who got their first 10 batters on base and score nine runs in a 12-5 rout the previous night, got off to another hot start on a steamy final night of September. Garcia opened the game with a single and later scored on Nelson Velázquez's single, and Salvador Perez added a homer in the third to give Kansas City a 3-0 lead.
The Yankees got two runs back against Marsh in the fourth before tying the game in the sixth on Florial's single. Collin Snider proceeded to walk DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge before Torres ripped a two-run single to give New York a 5-2 lead.
SMOOTHING THINGS OVER
The Yankees' Carlos Rodón and pitching coach Matt Blake spent time talking Saturday after clashing on the mound the previous night. Rodón was in the midst of allowing all eight batters he faced to reach and eventually score in a 12-5 loss when Blake came out to talk to him. Rodón turned his back on Blake and gestured for him to return to the dugout.
“He’s been in the league for a while. We want him to go out and have a lot of success and behave in the right ways,” Blake said Saturday, “and you know, this is one were going to look back on and wish we had back.”
ONE MORE SWIPE NEEDED
Bobby Witt Jr. was thrown out trying to steal second, tying Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. for the major league lead with 14. Witt needs one steal for 50 to go along with 30 homers.
Yankees: To reinstate Montas (shoulder inflammation) from the injured list, OF Jasson Domínguez (elbow surgery) was moved to the 60-day list and RHP Randy Vásquez optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Royals OF Drew Waters left after the third inning with tightness in his left quad. He doubled in his only plate appearance.
Yankees RHP Michael King (4-7, 2.50 ERA) will start the season finale against Royals RHP Zack Greinke (1-15, 5.18), who could be making his last start with Kansas City. The 39-year-old Greinke will be a free agent after finishing his 20th big league season.