Energized by the arrival of a new manager, the resurgent Royals beat old nemesis Randy Johnson 3-1 Wednesday night, handing the Yankees their fourth straight loss and prompting Torre to call an angry closed-door team meeting.
Nobody would say exactly what Torre told the Yankees.
"It wasn't a pat on the (backside)," said Alex Rodriguez, who went hitless for the second night in a row.
It's the third four-game slide this year for the Yankees, who had won 16 of 18 before losing two in a row to Boston. Then they came to Kansas City, where the Royals' record of 15-37 is still the worst in the majors.
"I just didn't like what I saw," Torre said. "It's just as basic as that. I'm unhappy. I won't go as far as saying I'm discouraged."
One thing Torre did mention was Jason Giambi's getting caught in a rundown between second and third.
"We have to be a little more mindful, thinking baseball," he said. "We're flat and we need to do something about it."
Emil Brown hit a two-run homer as the Royals beat Johnson for the first time in 12 years.
D. J. Carrasco (1-1) threw six shutout innings for his first major league win as a starter and Buddy Bell improved to 2-0 as Royals manager. The Royals had not won a series against the Yankees since Aug. 11-13, 2003.
Carrasco gave up just four hits, with two walks and two strikeouts in what he called the best game of his career.
"That's a world-champion caliber team there and to go out there and have good results like that, I'd say it's my best outing ever," he said.
"When you're playing a team like the Yankees, everybody pretty much brings their 'A' game. Having a new manager come in at the same time, everything's coming together."
Johnson (5-4), who has 251 major league wins, had been 9-0 with one save and a 3.03 ERA in 14 games -- all wins by his teams -- since he last lost to the Royals on May 21, 1993.
He gave up nine hits and three runs, with one walk and seven strikeouts as his career record against the Royals dropped to 12-7.
Johnson said Brown hit a flat slider.
"I put us in the hole right away," he said. "You've got to tip your hat to Carrasco. He kept us off-balance."
Carrasco was replaced starting the seventh by rookie Steve Stemle, who pitched two shutout innings.
Before then, the Yankees, the second-highest scoring team in the majors, had been held scoreless for 13 straight innings by a Kansas City staff that ranked last entering the game with a 5.60 ERA.
"(Johnson) can only do so much," Torre said. "We didn't get him a run until the ninth inning. A lot of times you see players get frustrated. And frustration doesn't get it done."
The great stretch of 16-of-18 is now fading into memory for the Yankees.
"We've been consistent, but in the opposite direction," Torre said. "What we did over a three-week period, we don't want that to be negated."
On Thursday night, Bell's seemingly re-energized team will go for its first home sweep of New York in 15 years.
The Yankees had only two runners reach as far as second before the ninth -- doubles by Gary Sheffield in the third and Giambi in the fourth.
"Obviously, if we play like this every night we're going to be in pretty good shape," Bell said.
"We'll just see where this takes us. We're playing the Yankees, they have been the best team in baseball for the past decade or so. We need to play well to beat teams like this. I was just hopeful we were going to play with some energy and some smarts and we pretty much have done that."
Angel Berroa hit his first of two doubles leading off against Johnson. Brown, who has seven multihit games in his last 11 outings, drove an 0-1 pitch into the water display behind left field with two outs.
Berroa doubled again in the third and made it 3-0 on David DeJesus' RBI single.
Typical of the suddenly improved play was Carrasco's putout of Giambi in the fourth. After Giambi's one-out double, he was trapped between second and third when Ruben Sierra hit a sharp grounder which Carrasco snared. While Giambi stood motionless, Carrasco ran over and made the tag himself, perfectly executing the sort of play the Royals have struggled with all season.
- Brooklyn native DeJesus heard from a lot of angry old friends Wednesday after making a great, leaping catch at the center field wall and probably robbing Jeter of a home run leading off Tuesday night's game.
- The Yankees are in a stretch where they'll play 21 of 27 games away from home.