Yankees' quench offensive thirst in Atlanta
Club outscores Braves 38-11 in series; Drew, Headley lead charge that includes nine-run seventh
ATLANTA -- A three-game showdown against the Braves' inexperienced pitching staff seemed to get the Yankees' bats back on track. The contributions up and down the batting order were so widespread, even Stephen Drew's batting average bubbled above the Mendoza line.
Drew and Chase Headley combined to go 7-for-7 with two homers, six runs, eight RBIs and four walks on Sunday, while Jacoby Ellsbury slugged a three-run homer in a 20-6 rout at Turner Field that saw the Yankees plate nine runs in the seventh inning. New York outscored Atlanta, 38-11, in the series.
"We've talked about how we hit that skid there for a little bit, but over the course of the year, everybody will go through that," said Drew, whose four-hit performance boosted his season average to .201. "Hopefully that's the last of that. It's good for the offense to be able to come in and everybody be able to contribute that."
The Interleague pounding was historic in nature; the Braves hadn't surrendered 38 runs over a three-game series since moving to Atlanta back in 1966, and the Yanks hadn't scored that many runs in a set since they thumped Orioles pitching for 41 runs in May 2004.
More importantly in the here and now, the output helped wash away bad tastes left over from the Yanks' most recent series, in which Astros pitching handcuffed them to four runs over three games. They were unable to muster a single hit with runners in scoring position against Houston, but that issue seemed to be cured in Atlanta.
"Baseball has a way of evening out," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "When you struggle offensively, you're due to get some guys hot, and I think that's kind of what happened here. We swung the bats extremely well, and we'll try to keep it going in Boston."
Perhaps the only on-field issue the Yankees would change took place north of the border at Rogers Centre, where the imposing Blue Jays lineup outscored the Tigers 29-6 in a three-game set. New York remains 1 1/2 games behind Toronto in the American League East chase.
"Sure, we would have loved it if they lost a game or two, but all we can control is what we can do," Headley said. "We're going to play them seven times before the end of the year, and there's a good chance that those seven games are going to have a pretty good impact on how things end up. It would have been great if they lost, but they didn't."
Every starting position player in the Yankees' batting order had at least one hit and one run scored on Sunday, with New York rapping 21 hits against losing pitcher Julio Teheran and five relievers. Drew reached base in all six plate appearances and said that he has stopped worrying about his low average.
"It's a good day offensively for me," Drew said. "We're here to win games. It's getting to the end, and we know it. Every game we can win is huge."
Headley said that it meant something to see the Yankees manage most of their production without Mark Teixeira, sidelined by a deep bone bruise on his right leg, and Alex Rodriguez -- who was limited to two pinch-hit plate appearances in the series but ignited the big seventh inning with a two-run single Sunday.
"Obviously those guys are big keys to our lineup, and we're better when they're in there, but we feel we have other players that are more than capable of performing well," Headley said. "It's nice to see that. It's good to see guys stepping up."