Derek Jeter's farewell tour will head to Kansas City for "one night only" when the Yankees play a makeup game Monday against the first-place Royals. The game, rained out in early June, will finish up a four-game series.
Jeter will be honored prior to the matchup, which will feature Royals starter James Shields, the last pitcher the Yankees faced when they travelled to Kauffman Stadium.
Shields has faced Derek Jeter 95 times during his career and there are undoubtedly a few more matchups coming, like when the Royals visit New York in early September.
"He's been a tough out his whole career," Shields said. "I'm not the only one, for sure, but he's had close to 100 at-bats against me and every out I've ever had has been tough. It's been an honor to be able to face a guy like that for a long time."
Jeter has hit .284 (25-for-88) against Shields with one homer, three doubles and six RBIs. They were frequent foes when Shields was with Tampa Bay in the American League East.
This is the 30th time that Shields will face the Yankees and he's 9-15 against them with a 4.20 ERA. He'll be facing a slightly rejuvenated Yankees offense, which posted 16 runs over the weekend in sweeping the White Sox and winning four straight games.
"We've always talked about where momentum starts," said Girardi after Sunday's walk-off victory. "It starts with your starting pitcher the next day. But it's a good feeling going on the road when you're going on a strange trip where you're going to a city to play one day. But it's a much better feeling when you're leaving."
The win streak has come about largely from that starting pitching. Over their last five games, Yankees starters haven't allowed more than three runs per outing, resulting in only one loss, mostly at the expense of their usually reliable bullpen.
Michael Pineda started that trend, and he'll look to continue it Monday against a Royals team that's won 24 of its last 31 games. He'll make his third start since coming back from the disabled list with an upper-back strain, hoping to progress after tossing six innings of two-run ball against the Astros on Wednesday.
"He was pretty good," Girardi said of Pineda's last start. "I thought he got a little tired at the end, but that's to be expected. We pushed him a little bit, but I thought he gave us a really good performance."
Yankees: Gardner and Ellsbury sit out
Brett Gardner celebrated his 31st birthday with a lengthy visit to the Yankee Stadium trainers' room on Sunday.
Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury were both out of the Yankees' lineup for injury-related reasons on Sunday, as the club prepared to face the White Sox and left-hander Chris Sale.
Girardi said that Gardner's right ankle was "pretty sore" after he fouled a ball off himself in Saturday's 5-3 win over Chicago; Girardi said that he hopes Gardner will miss only one day but is doubtful he will play Monday.
"Hopefully, a good day of treatment gets most of the soreness out," Girardi said.
Royals: Respect for Jeter
Shields and Jeter might be rivals but the right-hander has great respect for the Yankees' shortstop.
"He's never really shown anybody up, he's always cordial with all the players. And when it comes between the lines, he takes his job seriously and obviously his career has showed that," Shields said.
"God definitely gave him talent and he used it to the best of his ability."
Royals outfielder Josh Willingham reflected on what he's learned from Jeter through the years.
"Just respect everybody. He's always got something nice to say, he never really blows anybody off and if you get to second base, he's going to come over and say, 'Hey', he's done that ever since I was a rookie," Willingham said. "I think just being a genuinely nice guy is another good quality about him."
• The makeup game opens a 10-game homestand for the Royals. Following the Yankees' quick stop are three-game series against the Twins, Indians and Rangers.
• Carlos Beltran's 15th home run with the Yankees on Saturday marked the fifth Major League team with which he has hit 15 dingers. Kansas City was the first.
• While Brett Gardner turned 31 Sunday, reliever Adam Warren will be celebrating his 27th birthday Monday.
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.