NEW YORK - The Yankees could be on the verge of getting some of their key players back from the injured list, so in the meantime, they just need to take advantage of their opponents' mistakes and pick up victories any way they can.

Beating struggling teams is part of that process.

After their series against the Kansas City Royals got off to a bad start with a five-run loss, the Yankees bounced back Friday with a 6-2 victory before 39,668 at Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia labored through five innings in his second start but still limited the Royals, while the Yankees hit a pair of homers and capitalized on some miscues by Kansas City.

Although, it wasn't the cleanest game for the Yankees, either.

The Yankees received some good news earlier in the day as Gary Sanchez came through another workout without any setbacks as he closes in on returning, and Miguel Andujar made throws from third to first for the first time since going on the injured list because of a tear in his labrum.

The Yankees remain optimistic the third baseman will avoid season-ending surgery.

Giancarlo Stanton, meanwhile, may not be too far away either.

For a team that has a crowded injured list, those developments are encouraging.

Once the game started, the Yankees (9-10) picked up a win to move closer to .500.

After Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer and Mike Tauchman slugged a solo shot, the Yankees scored two more in the sixth inning.

DJ LeMahieu hit a sacrifice fly to score Aaron Judge and Luke Voit darted home on a passed ball by Royals catcher Martin Maldonado to put the Yankees up by three.

Then in the seventh, Kyle Higashioka led off with a double and scored on an error to give the Yankees a 6-2 lead.

Sabathia was coming off a stellar season debut, during which he allowed just one hit over five scoreless innings against the White Sox on April 13.

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It was an impressive showing after his offseason included knee surgery and a procedure to insert a stent to clear a block in one of his arteries.

Aaron Boone wasn't necessarily surprised at how well he had pitched.

"Great athlete," Boone said before the game. "Great delivery. When you combine athleticism with the ability to repeat your delivery, and obviously the track record that he has, in a lot of ways it is like riding a bike. For CC, mechanically he's so sound. His build up has gone really well. It's gone really smoothly."

The Yankees were hoping for a repeat performance. They didn't quite get it, though Sabathia did just enough.

Before the game, Boone said he planned to keep Sabathia in the 75-80 pitch range, and the third inning took a toll on that pitch count.

After he walked Madonado to start the frame, Terrance Gore hit a slow grounder back toward the mound. Sabathia field it but his throw to first was off and got past Voit, allowing the runners to take second and third with no outs.

Whit Merrifield then flied out to right, and Maldonado took off for home. Clint Frazier's throw was slightly up the third-base line, but Higashioka corralled it and applied the tag for the double play.

But the inning extended when Voit couldn't cleanly field Billy Hamilton's grounder to first for an error. Adalberto Mondesi then singled before Hunter Dozier walked.

Sabathia finally struck out Alex Gordon to end the inning, but he needed 58 pitches to get that far.

The left-hander could only get through two more innings. He departed having given up three hits while walking four batters and striking out five.

Sabathia is now six strikeouts away from becoming the 17th pitcher to record 3,000, and just the 17th lefty.

After Sabathia left, Luis Cessa came in and surrendered a pair of doubles, but retired the next three batters to avoid further damage.

Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton each pitched scoreless innings to nail down the win.

Visit The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) at www.NorthJersey.com

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