Alex Rodriguez said he was poised to go off after Tuesday night's win. Two home runs says he knew what he was talking about. (Image: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE)

Pettitte strong, A-Rod finds stroke as Yankees defeat Royals 8-3

Two important cogs in the New York Yankees machine were working in fine fashion in last night’s 8-3 thumping of the Kansas City Royals. Andy Pettitte, while not as masterful as he was in his last start, pitched seven plus innings of two-run ball (both solo homers) and Alex Rodriguez drilled two home runs in a game for the first time in over a year.

The Yankees have a modest two game winning streak and now a day of rest after a 16-game marathon which saw them go 8-8 and endure one the worst collective hitting slumps in recent memory.

A-Rod, a poster child of the slump, felt he was going to break out of it soon and declared as much after Tuesday night’s win in which he went 1-for-4. He wasn’t hitting for power but said, he was set to “go off”. Yes indeed, he went off.

Curtis Granderson gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a solo homer, his 14th of the year. After Mark Teixeira walked, Rodriguez smacked a two-run homer, his first in 52 at-bats, to left field off rookie Will Smith, who was making his major league debut. The ball left the park in a hurry and just as quickly the Yankees were up by three.

In the bottom of the third, Derek Jeter led off with a double followed by a Granderson single. Teixeira wiped away the base-runners with a ground out double play, scoring Jeter. A-Rod retrieved the second run with his second blast of the night, this one a towering home run to center which gave Pettitte a five-run lead.

Pettitte, coming off eight innings of shutout ball in his last appearance, left two pitches up on the zone that Billy Butler and Mitch Maier hit out in the fourth and fifth inning respectively. Those would be the only blemishes in the seven inning stint. He allowed seven hits and one walk, while striking out eight batters.

The Yankees scored three more in the bottom of the fifth on two bases-loaded walks wrapped around a Robinson Cano ground out.

The Yankees begin a six-game west coast swing in Oakland tomorrow night.

  • Jeter moved into a tie with Hall of Famer Paul Waner for 15th place on the all-time hits list with 3,152.
  • The two-homer game was the 60th multihomer game of A-Rod’s career.
  • Brett Gardner and David Robertson are heading to Tampa to continue their rehab work while the Yankees head to the west coast. Gardner hopes to begin swinging a bat on Monday. Robertson is eyeing a June 1st return.
  • Despite the eight-run outburst the Yankees were 1-for-6 with RISP.
  • Russell Martin went 0-for-4 and stranded 7 base runners. He is hitting .176 on the season.

We have a new staff writer, Anthony Rushing, and he’ll publish his debut piece today discussing Phil Hughes and his role in the Yankees need for consistency. Also later today, I’ll provide a commentary detailing why the Yankees can’t expect to ride A-Rod’s bat alone.

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Tags: A-Rod Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Brett Gardner Curtis Granderson David Robertson Derek Jeter Kansas City Royals Mark Teixeira New York Yankees Phil Hughes Robinson Cano Russell Martin Yankees

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