KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Carlos Rodón pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning in his return to the mound where he hit his low point last September, winning his seventh straight start and leading the New York Yankees over the Kansas City Royals 4-2 on Monday night.

Juan Soto rejoined the Yankees lineup after missing a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of left forearm inflammation. He went 1 for 3 with a run and a walk as the designated hitter.

AL-best New York (47-21) won for the 10th time in 13 games and improved to 15-1 against the AL Central. Aaron Boone got his 556th victory, tying Billy Martin for seventh among Yankees managers.

After arriving in Kansas City at 3 a.m. following a Sunday night game in the Bronx, the Yankees gave Aaron Judge his first game off this season and rested slumping Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton.

Rodón (9-2) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, giving up Freddy Fermin’s RBI single in the seventh.

Bobby Witt Jr. had an RBI single in the eighth off Ian Hamilton.

Michael Tonkin, cut by Minnesota and the New York Mets (twice) in April, worked the ninth for his second big league save and first since last year with Atlanta. Yankees closer Clay Holmes pitched three of the previous four days.

In the final start of his first season with the Yankees, Rodón allowed all eight batters he faced to reach base last Sept. 29 in a 12-5 loss that dropped him to 3-8 with a 6.85 ERA. When pitching coach Matt Blake came out of the dugout in an attempt to get him on track, the two exchanged a few words before Rodón turned his back on Blake and gestured for him to return to the dugout, even though the coach was still talking. Rodón blamed himself for feeling frustrated at his performance.

Alex Verdugo hit a go-ahead single in a two-run first on a grounder that glanced off the glove of a diving Witt in the shortstop hole. Verdugo scored on DJ LeMahieu’s safety squeeze off Seth Lugo (9-2), one of three sacrifice bunts by the Yankees.

Jose Trevino boosted the lead to 4-0 with a two-run single in the fourth that followed Jahmai Jones’ bunt.

Lugo gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings. He lost for the first time since April 21 after going 6-0 over eight starts and has allowed nine runs in his last two starts, raising his ERA from 1.72 to 2.36.

Dan Altavilla, a 31-year-old right-hander brought up from Triple-A Omaha, pitched a perfect eighth for the Royals in his first major league appearance since April 16, 2021, for San Diego.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (right elbow inflammation) is to make a third minor league rehab start on Friday.

Royals: RF Hunter Renfroe broke his left big toe when he twice fouled off curveballs in the third inning. He played the field in the fourth but was removed at the start of the fifth. … RHP Michael Wacha (broken left foot) is to throw a bullpen Tuesday. … 2B Michael Massey (sprained lower back) took swings and played catch in his first day of baseball activities since leaving a May 24 game.

UP NEXT

RHP Marcus Stroman (5-2, 3.04 ERA) starts Tuesday for the Yankees and RHP Brady Singer (4-2, 2.76) for the Royals.

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