Brett Gardner has traded in stolen bases for home runs.
Gardner clubbed his second home run in Sunday's 3-0 win over the Orioles and now has two more home runs that he does steals. The speedster is known for wrecking havoc on the bases, but it's been his power that's done the job thus far.
The center fielder's two-run shot Sunday gave the Yankees breathing room as they were up 1-0 in the fifth before he careened a ball off the right-field foul pole.
"Nice to be able to come through in a situation like that," Gardner said.
As Gardner's feet have yet to steal a base, failing in both his attempts, it's this rarely-seen power that's instead been on display. Coming into the year, Gardner had just 15 career home runs and had never hit more than seven in a season. This year, he's been able to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's dimensions, pulling both of his homers into the right-field seats.
Sunday, with a man on and two outs, Gardner looked to capitalize if Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen threw a first-pitch strike. Gardner pulled the first pitch down the line and banged it off the foul pole, helping the Yankees to their fifth win in the past six games. The Yankees are now 15-2 when Gardner homers.
"Obviously I was looking for a good pitch to hit," Gardner said. "He was looking away and he left it in, and I kept it fair."
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM: The bottom of the Yankees lineup came through in a big way Sunday as the No. 6-9 hitters, consisting of Brennan Boesch, Francisco Cervelli, Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix, went 5-for-10 with two runs scored and set in motion the three-run fifth inning.
In a scoreless game in the fifth, Boesch and Cervelli singled to open the inning. Overbay then moved Cervelli to third on a deep fly to right, and Nix gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to right. Gardner then turned on the next pitch and blasted it off the foul pole to put the Yankees up 3-0.
"It's just timely hitting," Overbay said. "Guys got on and we did the little small things that kind of helped out and Gardner ended up kind of sealing the deal."
THE RECORD: After a 1-4 start, the Yankees have rebounded to win five of their last six. After struggling through the first two series, the Yankees have found a way to get above. 500 as they wait for the reinforcements to arrive.
"I think our guys have done very well and responded very well to a slow start," Girardi said. "We didn't play very well the first five games. At times we didn't hit, at times we didn't pitch. I'm happy with what these guys have done so far with the way they've shown their character and guys have stepped up and done a good job in some people's absence."