Ivan Nova did not give the Yankees much of a chance to win Thursday night, allowing the Royals to score eight runs on 10 hits in his three-plus innings of work.
But Nova did not get much help from his defense.
The Yankees committed two errors -- both in the critical second inning, in which the Royals scored six runs to open up a 6-0 lead.
First, with a runner on first and no outs, Matt Treanor hit a routine grounder to Robinson Cano, but Cano's throw to second base for the force was wide of the bag, and the runner was safe at second.
"I should have [taken] my time a little more," Cano said after the game.
Then with runners on second and third and one out, catcher Francisco Cervelli tried to catch the runner on second napping, firing a snap throw to second after a Nova pitch. But that throw was also off the mark, winding up in the outfield, with one runner scoring and the other advancing to third.
"I tried to throw to second, it was a bad throw," Cervelli said. "That inning was the whole game."
(Cervelli also had two passed balls on the night, including one in that second inning, which allowed two runners to advance.)
Nova also could have gotten an inning-ending double play on a grounder back to the mound in that inning, but did not field it cleanly, and then threw to first instead of trying to get the runner attempting to score.
"It's just not good baseball," manager Joe Girardi said. "You're not used to seeing Robby throw a ball away, and Cervy throws a ball away. Nova doesn't field the double play ball, and then compounds it by throwing the ball to first instead of home. We just gave 'em too many outs. You can't beat teams when you give them extra outs."
Girardi indicated that he has not been very happy with his team's defense the past couple of weeks, although he said it was not for lack of effort.
"Our guys work every day, it's not lack of work," Girardi said. "Sometimes guys just make physical errors, that's the bottom line, I mean, that's gonna happen. But to happen four or five times in a couple weeks is kind of unusual for this team."
"We're better than the way we're playing lately," Cano said.
With the Red Sox coming into town for three games starting Friday night, the Yankees will likely need to play a lot better to win.