Rapid Reaction: Yankees 8, Royals 1

NEW YORK -- The lumber has emerged from its slumber. The baseball is once again leaving the ballpark. And after three miserable days that seemed like three weeks, the New York Yankees have finally won a game over the Kansas City Royals, 8-1. The hitting woes aren't cured, of course, but for one night at least, the pain was masked by an injection of long balls.

What it means: That after what looked like a permanent absence, the Bombers returned to the Bronx. Let's see how long they decide to stay. And even with this much-needed victory, the Yankees have to win Thursday's series finale to avoid losing three of four to the mediocre Royals.

Bossa Nova: For the third time in four nights, the Yankees got a strong performance out of their starter, but for the first time all week, they didn't waste it. Ivan Nova, who has been outstanding since returning to the rotation in late June, worked eight innings and held the Royals scoreless until the last inning, when he surrendered an RBI double to Eric Hosmer. Nova had an excellent curveball, using it to get the first three of his six strikeouts. His fastball topped out at 95 mph.

Power surge: The Yankees scored eight runs, their highest in a home game all season, and seven of them came via the home run, which has been missing in action for much of the season. After leading MLB in homers with 245 last year, the Yankees are behind 20 other teams this season, including the New York Mets.

Salami hero: The Yankees busted it open in the sixth on Lyle Overbay's grand slam, the fourth of his career but first since 2006, and incredibly, only the Yankees' second of the season after having hit 10 in each of the previous three years. Overbay hit a 3-2 fastball the other way into the lower left-field seats, his 11th home run of 2013, chasing Royals starter Wade Davis.

Robbie Ca-Knock: The Yankees took a 4-0 lead in the third inning on Robinson Cano's 21st home run of the season, a blast to left center that took off and kept on going, landing in the loading dock just to the left of Monument Park. It was Cano's first home run in eight days, and the four Yankees runs to that point were more than they had scored in their previous three games combined.

Now, that's a stretch: Cano missed his second home run of the game by about an inch leading off the seventh, but the ball hit the top of the wall and caromed to right fielder David Lough, who fired to third. Cano, who had started into his home-run trot, turned on the jets to try for a triple but was nailed at third. It goes down as a double and an out trying to stretch.

Not again!: As on Tuesday night, the Yankees had a chance for a big first inning but had to settle for just one run. Brett Gardner drew a leadoff walk and went to second on Ichiro Suzuki's single to left. Both runners advanced on Cano's groundout, and then Davis threw a wild pitch that scored Gardner from third, and when catcher George Kottaras threw the ball wildly past Davis at home, Ichiro tried to score from second. But first baseman Hosmer hustled after the errant throw and fired home to Kottaras, who blocked the plate so completely Ichiro was stopped dead and called out. Travis Hafner then flied out to end the inning.

Aches and pains: Both Hafner and Gardner left the game early, Hafner with a left foot contusion and Gardner with a right leg contusion. Both were sent for X-rays, both of which came back negative, and both are day-to-day. Gardner suffered his injury getting hit by a pitch in the sixth inning. It is not known how Hafner got hurt. We'll find out in the postgame clubhouse.

What's next: The series finale on Thursday matches Andy Pettitte (6-6, 4.37) and RHP Ervin Santana (5-5, 2.90), first pitch at 1:05 p.m.