Yanks' 8-run first sets tone for feel-good win
Headley, McCann, Gardner go deep off Guthrie in huge opening frame
NEW YORK -- Despite a quick turnaround after losing their sixth straight game on Sunday night, it took the Yankees just five batters to jump out to a 5-0 lead against the Royals on Monday -- and they didn't stop there.
The Yankees tagged Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie for eight first-inning runs, including three homers, in a frenzied opening inning in the Bronx. Stephen Drew continued the onslaught with a three-run homer in the second frame, as the Yankees ended their skid with a 14-1 rout.
"To be able to get three three-run homers in the first two innings -- it was nice," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've been through some tough losses, we've been through some ugly losses, so to be able to get that type of lead was really nice."
Brett Gardner started the rally with a leadoff double, then scored one batter later on Chase Headley's sixth home run of the year. After Alex Rodriguez singled and Mark Teixeira walked, Brian McCann crushed a homer to push the lead to 5-0.
Guthrie retired the next two batters, before Didi Gregorius was hit by a pitch and Slade Heathcott followed with a base hit. Gardner then delivered his second extra-base hit of the inning, a three-run homer to give the Yankees a season-best eight-run inning.
"It was nice for us to get off to a good start, obviously," Headley said. "It's been a tough go for us lately, so to be able to jump out and take a big lead early was a good confidence booster. A lot of guys had good days, so hopefully we can build on it."
Five players had multi-hit efforts, with four of them -- Gardner, Headley, McCann and Drew -- driving in three runs. It marked the first time that four different Yankees had at least three RBIs in the same game since Aug. 3, 2011, when Curtis Granderson, Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Eric Chavez all did so in an 18-7 victory over the White Sox.
The eight first-inning runs marked the most in a single frame by the Yankees since Aug. 27, 2014, when they tallied eight in the third inning of an 8-4 win in Detroit. It was their most in an inning at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 2, 2013, when they put up eight in the fourth inning of a 9-1 victory over the White Sox.
"There's a lot of pent-up frustration since things hadn't been going our way," Headley said. "So guys were excited early on and having fun. When things are going bad like that, you're kind of looking for a reason to get excited, and we got that today."
The three homers from Headley, McCann and Gardner were the most in a single inning by the Yankees since they hit four in a nine-run second inning on Oct. 1, 2012, in a 10-2 win over the rival Red Sox.
The Yankees entered having scored 40 first-inning runs this season, tied with the Tigers for the most in the Majors. On Monday, they parlayed that sort of fast start into a strong all-around effort. It was just the Yankees' second win in the past 12 games, but even with their recent slide, they currently sit one game above .500 at 23-22.
"This game can humble you pretty quickly," Gardner said. "We played really, really well for three or four weeks, then you lose 10 out of 11 and you start second-guessing yourself. But today, we needed that, and hopefully we can build on that and win this series before we go out of town."