Franchy Cordero homered for the second straight game and Gleyber Torres also went deep for the Yankees, who stopped a four-game slide and won for only the third time in 12 games since July 4. Torres extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
The Yankees hit three homers for the fourth time since Aaron Judge tore a ligament in his right big toe crashing into the wall at Dodger Stadium on June 3. New York improved to 16-22 without the slugger, who took batting practice on the field before the victory.
New York right-hander Clarke Schmidt (6-6) was charged with three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Michael Massey hit a three-run shot in the fourth for Kansas City and a solo shot in the eighth. It was his first career multihomer game.
Before the two big swings against New York, Massey’s previous homer was on May 29 at St. Louis.
McKinney’s two-out homer - a drive to the short porch in right field - lifted the Yankees to a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning. It was his fifth of the season.
“He’s done a really good job on both sides of the ball,” manager Aaron Boone said. “You can put him in all three positions out there in the outfield and he does a really good job there. He’s obviously hit some big homers for us.”
McKinney also robbed Kyle Isbel with a spectacular catch for the final out of the third. Isbel hit a sinking liner that sliced into left-center field, and McKinney completed a sliding grab in front of the warning track.
“I got a hold of it,” McKinney said. “It kind of kept falling away from me and I was glad I was able to make the sliding play.”
“I didn’t think he had a chance,” Schmidt added. “I thought it was a double for sure and he just closed on it really well.”
McKinney made his sixth start in center field this season because Harrison Bader was held out after bruising his ribs in Wednesday’s 7-3 loss at the Angels.
“That was impressive,” Schmidt said. “I didn’t know he was a center fielder. So I guess that’s his true position now.”
Schmidt was one strike away from ending the fourth but Massey hit a 2-2 pitch about halfway up the second deck in right to give the Royals a 3-1 lead.
In his fourth big league start, Kansas City rookie Alec Marsh (0-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Wandy Peralta followed Schmidt and stranded two in the sixth before McKinney made a leaping catch on Drew Waters to open the seventh.
Clay Holmes got his 12th save when Waters was called out at third on a fielder’s choice after a crew chief review overturned the original call. Bobby Witt Jr. hit a grounder in the hole to shortstop Anthony Volpe, who quickly threw to DJ LeMahieu and third base umpire Jordan Baker immediately called Waters safe before replay showed the tag was made in time.
“That was an extremely heads-up play by Volpe to end the game,” Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said.
The Royals lost for the 11th time in 14 games. They dropped to 1-8 in their last nine games against the Yankees.
Slumping slugger Anthony Rizzo was among a few Yankees taking swings off a tee on the field in early batting practice with new hitting coach Sean Casey.
Rizzo, whose last homer was May 20 in Cincinnati, went 0 for 4 and is hitting .244.
Yankees: Judge will face Jonathan Loáisiga (right elbow inflammation) in a simulated game on Sunday. ... C Jose Trevino (right wrist tear) was placed on the injured list and will undergo surgery that likely will sideline him for the rest of the season.
New York RHP Gerrit Cole (9-2, 2.78 ERA) opposes Kansas City RHP Brady Singer (6-8, 5.70 ERA) on Saturday afternoon.
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