KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) There’s no Derek Jeter to lean on right now, no Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira in the New York Yankees’ high-priced lineup to provide clutch hits and big home runs.
Nope, there are just guys like Lyle Overbay filling in with aplomb.
The low-key, aw-shucks Overbay hit a two-run homer and finished with five RBIs on Friday night, and Ichiro Suzuki also hit a two-run homer as the banged-up Yankees opened their only trip to Kansas City with an 11-6 rout of the scuffling Royals.
“Sometimes baseball doesn’t make sense, and on a night we really needed some runs, we got them,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Everyone seemed to help out tonight.”
Overbay finished with a career-high four hits, Suzuki had three hits and Chris Nelson drove in a pair of runs for the Yankees, who gave Girardi his 500th win in pinstripes.
Girardi reached the milestone in his 844th game, one fewer than Billy Martin. The only Yankees managers to reach the mark faster were Casey Stengel, Joe McCarthy, Joe Torre and Miller Huggins.
“I’ve been blessed to have this opportunity,” Girardi said. “As a child you dream about playing in the big leagues, and I don’t know if you dream about managing, but as I got older, it’s something I really wanted to do, and I got a great opportunity.”
Phil Hughes (2-2) allowed six runs in 5 2-3 innings, but still earned the victory for New York, thanks to an offense that awoke from a slumber against Wade Davis and reliever Bruce Chen.
The struggling Davis (2-3) allowed seven runs in five-plus innings as the Royals lost for the fourth time in their last five games.
“I made it look a lot harder than it should,” Davis said. “When you don’t command your pitches, you can make anybody look a lot better. I didn’t execute my pitches.”
Jarrod Dyson hit a three-run shot for the Royals, just the second homer of his career, and Mike Moustakas went deep in his second straight game. Alex Gordon also drove in a pair of runs.
But it wasn’t enough offense to keep up with the Yankees, who scored six runs total during a three-game series in Colorado, but surpassed that amount with the first of five runs during the sixth inning Friday night that broke open what had been a tie game.
It was the first time New York scored 10 or more runs since April 9, and allowed the Yankees to improve to 20-9 since their ragged 1-4 start to the season.
“The guys stepped up big and gave me a bunch of runs,” Hughes said. “Thankfully, I was able to bring my not-so-good game on a day we scored a lot of runs.”
The Yankees came into the night with 42 homers, fifth in the majors, and wasted little time adding to the total. Suzuki followed a walk by Travis Hafner with his two-run shot in the second inning, and Overbay followed a double by Jayson Nix with his two-run homer.
The Royals got most of their deficit back on Dyson’s three-run shot in the bottom of the second. It was his first home run since Sept. 27, 2010, a span of 376 at-bats.
“He came in most of the time. I got my foot down on it and I was just trying to square him up,” Dyson said. “I barreled it up. It was a big hit at the time.”
Davis ran into more trouble in the fourth, when Nix walked and Overbay drove him in with a double to make it 5-3. But the Royals answered again in the fifth, tying the game on a two-run double by Gordon, who has become the Royals’ most reliable hitter.
The Yankees finally took control in the sixth inning.
Suzuki doubled and Nix singled to set up Overbay, who delivered his second double of the night. Nelson added a two-run single, and after Chris Stewart grounded into a fielder’s choice, Brett Gardner’s RBI triple and Robinson Cano’s run-scoring single gave New York a 10-5 lead.
Moustakas added his solo homer in the sixth, but Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley retired the next seven Royals – six of them by strikeout. Boone Logan finished up a quiet ninth to preserve the Yankees’ third straight win.
“The bullpens are so important, especially in the American League,” Girardi said. “Our guys have done a really good job. Shawn Kelley stepped up tonight. We’ve had other guys. … It’s been guy after guy doing the job.”
NOTES: Royals DH Billy Butler went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .236. … Nix reached base four times. … Royals RF Lorenzo Cain got hit on his left wrist by a pitch in the third inning. He remained in the game. … INF Eduardo Nunez (ribs) hit in the cage before the game and was available off the bench, Girardi said. He did not play. … New York LHP Andy Pettitte will start Saturday night against Royals RHP James Shields.