Robinson Cano's slam highlights Yankees' rout of Orioles
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It was the breakout most in the clubhouse saw as inevitable.
The Yankees, after enduring a stretch of close losses in which they mostly pitched well but didn't hit, unleashed nearly two weeks of frustration Wednesday, pounding the Orioles, 12-3, on a soggy afternoon at the Stadium.
"We don't like losing around here," said Nick Swisher, who had two of the Yankees' 15 hits. "We're not the type of team that deals with losing very well. Four games in a row, enough's enough. Just kind of feels like a coming-out party."
The Yankees snapped a four-game losing streak and pushed their lead in the AL East back to 6 1/2 games over the Orioles. The Yankees (61-43), who had lost nine of their last 12 games, start a three-game series against the Mariners tomorrow night at the Stadium.
"We need this a lot," said Robinson Cano, whose second grand slam of the season in a seven-run third inning made it 11-1. "It's a nice day to have going into a day off. You don't want to go home and think about a losing streak."
Through three innings the Yankees, with a makeshift lineup that included their newest member, Casey McGehee, starting at first base, collected 10 hits and were 7-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
The beneficiary was Phil Hughes, who gave up his share of hits (nine) in six innings but limited the damage to one run.
The Orioles (55-50) went 0-for-15 (0-for-11 against Hughes) with RISP and stranded 11, nine against Hughes (11-8, 3.96). The righthander had long waits in the dugout in the first and second innings -- when the Yankees put up two runs in each -- and especially in the third.
"They say with a big lead throw a lot of fastballs, and that's pretty much what I do no matter what," Hughes said. "It doesn't really change my mentality. Just tried to grind and battle. When you have a big lead it gives you a little more leeway but it doesn't really change much for me."
Joba Chamberlain, activated from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday, made his first appearance since last June and allowed two runs. One came on his second pitch to J.J. Hardy, who homered to left leading off the seventh. Chamberlain spent the previous 14 months rehabbing first from Tommy John surgery and then from a freakish ankle injury suffered on a trampoline in late March.
"It was something I can't forget," Chamberlain said of finally making it back. "I'll remember it just like I'd remember walking into old Yankee Stadium [in 2007]. Just to know that I'm back out there helping this team."
Joe Girardi liked what he saw.
"I was curious to see how he would do today because I'm sure there's a lot of emotions," Girardi said. "But he threw strikes, so I'm happy with that, and he didn't try to overthrow, and I was happy with that."
Zach Britton (1-1, 8.35), making his fourth start of the season, lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs.
Derek Jeter went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .316 and had three RBIs. Jayson Nix, who started at third, had three hits. Curtis Granderson had two, including his 29th homer in the first, and Cano added two.
Cano's grand slam, the ninth of his career, off Kevin Gregg was his 24th home run. McGehee went 0-for-2 but walked twice and scored twice.
"Even with some guys out," Girardi said, "this offense is capable of scoring a lot of runs."