Fortunately, the Yankees were able to counteract the Royals hitters with an offensive onslaught of their own. They put together a 13 hit attack, led by Brian McCann, and put up 10 runs.
All without the benefit of a single home-run.
As curious as that might be, it was also very good to see. This team has been mocked in recent seasons for living and dying by the home-run. It seemed like each game was either a HR barrage or it was a shutout and, come September baseball and playoff time, it was too often the latter.
A lot of that was just perception but, nevertheless, to see them score 10 runs without relying on taking the ball out of the park was refreshing. They fought back several times, outhitting a subpar outing by Masahiro Tanaka (7 IP, 7 hits, 6 ERs and career high 3 HRs surrendered) and going 6-for-15 with RISP. Four batters had multi-ht games.
In a game where the Yankees were without Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira, and playing with a short bench, it was all hands on deck and the team delivered. Every starter got a hit except rookie Ben Gamel who added his own contribution by scoring the tying run in the bottom of the 8th inning.
They have taken the first two games of a four game set against a team that won the 2015 World Series and, largely, fielded the same team in 2016. They need one win to take the series and have two chances to do it and that’s the best possible situation.
The Yankees have gone 4-1 on the homestand and, while it’s not saying much, they are easily playing their best baseball of the year. That’s not to say that all their problems are solved. They are still, after all, five games under .500 with a stronghold on the basement of the A.L. East. Chase Headley still (still!) doesn’t have an extra base hit on the season. Only three members of the starting lineup are batting over .250 on the season and the injury bug is wreaking havoc on this team.
That being said, the Yankees are doing exactly what they need to do. Doing all that fans can ask them to do. Just like they can’t score five runs in one AB, the Yankees can’t win five games in one night. They have to take them one at a time. Yes, five games is a small sample size but it’s still a good sign, all the more so because the ball stayed in the park.