The Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 8-1 behind a much needed offensive outburst. The Yankees scored as many runs in this game as they did in their previous four games combined.
The offensive stars were Lyle Overbay and Robinson Cano. Overbay hit a grand slam in the sixth and Cano hit a three-run homer to deep center in the third.
Overbay has been such an important signing because he has given the Yankees more offense than they ever could have hoped for when he was acquired at the very end of March. He was supposed to be the starter until Mark Teixeira returned from injury, but since Teixeira will be out the rest of the season because of surgery, after an ineffective 10-game return, Overbay will continue to be the starter and it seems like he will be up to the task.
From the 2004 season through the 2012 season, Overbay’s 290 doubles ranked fourth among major league first baseman. So far this season he has a .244 average, 11 homers and 40 RBI. However, he is a first baseman that has always been known for his defense and he has come through in that category as well.
Cano’s homer was needed as it set the tone for the game as their first run was scored off of a passed ball thrown by Wade Davis. Cano had a solid game in many facets since he had three hits in four at-bats, drove in his 62nd RBI and even added his sixth steal of the season. He would have had a triple and a 4-4 game if he would have been hustling from contact, but he was not since he thought the ball that hit the top of the wall was a homer.
Ivan Nova’s second consecutive dominating start, where he had command of all of his pitches, was another major positive. He allowed two runs in a complete game in his last start, and today, he went eight innings while only giving up five hits and striking out six. The only blemish against Nova was an RBI double by Eric Hosmer.
In Ivan Nova’s last four games pitched (3 starts) he is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA. The period that Nova spent in the minors helped him since his is now throwing his fastball where he wants it and is throwing his curve ball for strikeouts or to induce grounders. He really had command of his curve ball tonight.
Nova said that: “I don’t remember the last time I feel the way I feel. I’m throwing strikes with all my pitches.” He has recently been pitching like he did in 2011 when he was fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and won 16 games.
Overbay said he was looking for a fastball on the outside part of the plate and that is exactly what he got in order to hit his grand slam.
Brett Gardner, who stole his 12th base of the season in the fifth inning, is now tied with Phil Rizzuto (149) for 12th most steals in Yankees history.
The only negatives about this game were that Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner are now day-to-day. Hafner, who was 0-2, suffered his injury by fouling a ball off of his foot while swinging in the batting cage between innings. Gardner, who scored two runs on two walks, left the game in the right leg contusion.
A stat to keep in mind is that the Yankees are 29-1 this season when they score five or more runs in a game. Even more important than Ivan Nova proving to Joe Girardi that he deserves to stay in the rotation for the rest of the season was that the offense busted out of the slump that they were in. The runs that were scored today will hopefully give the bats some momentum in order to win at least three of the remaining four games before the All-Star break.