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Must C Call: Butler's disputed home run

KANSAS CITY -- The Yankees had plenty to say on Wednesday about a disputed home run that they believed should have been reversed, and there is evidence that could back their arguments.

Yet they would also agree that Bartolo Colon didn't pitch his best game and the offense sputtered through several big opportunities in a 5-4 loss to the Royals on Wednesday.

Billy Butler's third-inning solo shot clipped the left-field fence and struck a chain-link railing, upheld by a review that Yankees manager Joe Girardi believed did not correctly interpret Kauffman Stadium's ground rules.

"I don't think the game was lost on that situation," said Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, who saw the ball bounce back into play. "There's a lot that happened after that point in the ballgame."

Indeed, there was no question about Alex Gordon's three-run homer off Colon in that four-run inning that splashed into the right-field waterfalls and played a much larger part in the outcome.

Granderson and Russell Martin slugged solo home runs off Kansas City starter Bruce Chen, but the lineup was largely dormant until the ninth inning, when Joakim Soria sweated through an ugly 40-pitch inning.

Robinson Cano lifted a sacrifice fly to close the deficit to one run, but after a passed ball and walk re-loaded the bases, Jorge Posada went down looking on his 40th birthday for the final out.

"It was a fastball away, and he just took it," Soria said. "With all the bad things that happened, that was a good thing for me."

Colon was smacked around for five runs in five innings, including Butler's contested solo home run, leaving him tossing a ball to himself on the mound as crew chief Dana DeMuth decided on a ruling.

Granderson and Brett Gardner immediately waved to the umpiring crew that the ball hadn't gone out but had instead struck a second fence above the padded wall, but their arguments were rendered moot.

Girardi discussed the call twice with umpires, later saying he second-guessed his decision not to protest the game, as there would have been no penalty for being wrong.

"The one thing is, you can't argue the call or you get thrown out," Girardi said. "If I'm correct and it's a double, then it shows a flaw in not knowing the rules."

The umpires declined to comment on their decision to a pool reporter but were spotted on the field with umpiring supervisor Steve Palermo after the game, inspecting the layout of the wall.

Mariano Rivera showed rare heated emotion, charging from the visitors' clubhouse after seeing replays on television and barking at the umpiring crew -- to the point where Girardi thought he might have to save Rivera from ejection.

"My teammates are playing out there," Rivera said. "We're fighting to win the game, and one run can make the difference -- and I think it was. I think it was. So with that, if it's a run, it's a run. But if it's not, it's not."

Butler's home run, however, wasn't the only pitch that Colon would have undone. In addition to Butler's homer, Melky Cabrera tripled in the fifth before scoring on an Eric Hosmer fielder's choice.

"I feel good physically, but I gave up two home runs and we didn't win the game," Colon said through an interpreter.

Colon was handed his first defeat since July 19, permitting two walks while striking out four in a 99-pitch outing. He has not won in three starts and owns a 5.13 ERA over his last eight efforts.

"He left the ball up to Gordon and he left the ball up to Billy Butler," Girardi said. "He had the one inning, then he seemed to settle down pretty decently after that."

Chen held the Yankees to three runs over six effective innings.

After Derek Jeter had been caught stealing, Granderson cracked his team-leading 34th homer in the first inning, a frame that would see Chen strand the bases loaded by getting Martin to fly out.

"We just weren't able to get that one big hit tonight to take the lead," Girardi said. "We had plenty of opportunities."

Martin got to Chen in the sixth for a solo homer into the left-field bullpen, his 13th, and Nick Swisher knocked in Granderson with a third-inning single.

Chen was otherwise solid, picking up a quality start and scattering seven hits while walking three and striking out three.

"We had some opportunities to put runs across," Gardner said. "We fell behind early, and we just didn't win tonight. We've been playing pretty good baseball. You can't win all of them."

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