KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It would have been unrealistic, if not unfair, to expect Michael Pineda to come close to duplicating his last start.

That Pineda was almost historically good last Sunday afternoon at the Stadium, striking out 16 Orioles in seven innings, two shy of Ron Guidry's franchise single-game strikeout record.

"His stuff today was electric," catcher Brian McCann said after that 6-2 victory. "Almost every time he takes the mound, it is."

It wasn't Friday night.

Though not awful, the Pineda didn't have anywhere near his best stuff against the American League's top team, departing after 5 1/3 innings of an eventual 12-1 pounding at the hands of the Royals in front of 34,584 at Kauffman Stadium.

The Yankees (21-16), losers of four straight for the first time this season, were completely overmatched in all facets against the defending AL champs.

The Royals (23-13) showcased a far deeper lineup, one that produced 17 hits, including four by Mike Moustakas, solid pitching and superb defense.

The Yankees, who had five hits and have scored a combined six runs their last four games, displayed none of those things.

Pineda (5-1, 3.31 ERA), meanwhile, a strikeout king Sunday, managed just one strikeout last night, it coming in the fifth inning.

The 26-year-old trailed just 2-1 entering the sixth but could not get out of the inning. Alex Gordon led off with a double and came in on Omar Infante's one-out triple. Paulo Orlando, the No. 9 hitter, ended Pineda's night with a line shot back up the middle that made it 4-1.

David Carpenter and Justin Wilson contributed to four more runs coming across in the inning that blew the game open. Among the big hits was a two-run single by Lorenzo Cain, who had three hits and five RBI and also saved a run from scoring in the sixth - when it was still a game - chasing down Brian McCann's drive to the track in right-center.

Pineda was charge with five runs, allowing a season-worst 10 hits. He did not walk a batter.

The Royals erupted for four more runs against righty Jose Ramirez, called up from Triple-A earlier in the day, in the seventh for a 12-1 lead.

Bomber bats were again quiet, on this night vs. soft-tossing Royals starter, and former Met, Chris Young. The righthander allowed one run, four hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings.

The Yankees wasted a chance to give Pineda the lead before he took the mound. Leadoff man

Pineda retired leadoff man Alcides Escobar in the first but Moustakas took a 1-and-0, 93-mph fastball the other way, lining it into the leftfield corner for his seventh double.

Cain came next and hammered a 0-and-1 changeup off the top of the wall in left-center for an RBI double that made it 1-0.

The Royals added on in the third. Moustakas, who came with a .315/.378/.454 slash line, pulled a 1-and-1 slider over the first base bag and down the rightfield line for his first triple of the season (he later singled to start 3-for-3). Cain took a ball, then pounced on a 95-mph fastball and sent it to deep center for a sacrifice fly that made it 2-0.

The Yankees finally got to Young in the fourth. Alex Rodriguez lofted a 1-and-2 fastball in the gap in right-center for his seventh double of the season and went to third when Teixeira lined a single off the glove of a diving Escobar at short. McCann's sacrifice fly to right brought A-Rod to make it 2-1.

It would have been unrealistic, if not unfair, to expect Michael Pineda to even come close to duplicating his last start.

Pineda was almost historically good last Sunday afternoon at the Stadium, striking out 16 Orioles in seven innings, two shy of Ron Guidry's franchise single-game strikeout record.

"His stuff today was electric," catcher Brian McCann said after that 6-2 victory. "Almost every time he takes the mound, it is."

That wasn't the case Friday night, though.

Though far from awful, the righthander didn't have anywhere near his best stuff against the defending AL champs, departing after 51/3 innings with the Yankees, losers of three in a row, seemingly headed for a fourth straight setback.

A strikeout king last Sunday, Pineda was in and out of trouble much of Friday night and didn't record his first strikeout until the fifth inning.

Pineda, who came in 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA and an absurd strikeout-to-walk ratio of 54/3, stranded six Royals in the first five innings.

He trailed 2-1 entering the sixth but was knocked out and charged with the first three runs in a six-run inning that gave the Royals an 8-1 lead. Kansas City sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning.

Alex Gordon led off with a double and scored on Omar Infante's one-out triple. No. 9 hitter Paulo Orlando ended Pineda's night with a line-drive single up the middle that made it 4-1.

David Carpenter and Justin Wilson contributed to four more runs coming across in the inning. Lorenzo Cain had a two-run single off Wilson that made it 6-1 and Kendrys Morales and Gordon added RBI singles.

Pineda was charged with five runs and allowed a season-worst 10 hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out one.

Jose Ramirez got the first two outs in the seventh but then got hammered as the Royals made it 12-1. After a walk to Alcides Escobar, Moustakas doubled for his fourth hit to make it 9-1 before scoring on a single by Cain, who picked up his fifth RBI. Eric Hosmer walked and Morales doubled home two runs before Branden Pinder relieved Ramirez and struck out Alex Gordon. That gave the Royals 16 hits through seven innings.

The Yankees' bats, quiet in the previous three games, stayed that way against soft-tossing Royals starter Chris Young, a former Met. The 6-10 righthander allowed one run, four hits and two walks in 52/3 innings.

The Yankees wasted a chance to give Pineda the lead before he took the mound.

After Jacoby Ellsbury popped out to short, Brett Gardner drove a 1-and-0 fastball into the gap in right-center for his first triple of the season. He was stranded, however, as Alex Rodriguez flied out to short center -- not close to being deep enough for Gardner to tag -- and Mark Teixeira flied to short right.

Pineda retired leadoff man Alcides Escobar in the first but Mike Moustakas took a 93-mph fastball the other way, lining it into the leftfield corner for his seventh double. Cain then hammered a changeup off the top of the wall in left-center for an RBI double that made it 1-0.

The Royals added on in the third. Moustakas, who entered the game with a .315/.378/.454 slash line, pulled a 1-and-1 slider over first base and down the rightfield line for his first triple of the season. Cain took a ball, then pounced on a 95-mph fastball and sent it to deep center for a sacrifice fly that made it 2-0.

The Yankees finally got to Young in the fourth. Rodriguez lofted a 1-and-2 fastball into the gap in right-center for his seventh double and went to third when Teixeira lined a single off the glove of a diving Escobar at short. Brian McCann's sacrifice fly to right made it 2-1.