Yankees' DJ LeMahieu sprints home, scoring on a Gio Urshela...

Yankees' DJ LeMahieu sprints home, scoring on a Gio Urshela single in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Monday, May 17, 2021.  Credit: AP/Tony Gutierrez

ARLINGTON, Texas — Granted, the standard set was probably a bit unfair.

Still, DJ LeMahieu’s start to the 2021 season has not matched up so far with his first two seasons in pinstripes — whether it’s his full 2019 season when he hit .327 with an .893 OPS in 145 games or last year’s 60-game, COVID-19 shortened version when he led MLB in batting average (.364).

There have been recent signs, however, of that changing, a big one coming Tuesday night in a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over the Rangers.

LeMahieu, signed in the offseason to a six-year, $90 million contract, entered Wednesday hitting .277 with a .734 OPS.

Hardly numbers worthy of discussion about giving a player a day or two off to clear his head — and certainly not numbers that compare to some of those produced by many of the other Yankees in significantly more severe slumps to start their respective seasons — just not numbers expected out of LeMahieu.

But, again, there have been hints of an awakening.

LeMahieu had a season-high three RBIs Tuesday and, though it was part of a 1-for-4 night, every ball struck was hard. The night included the key hit of the Yankees’ five-run fourth — a two-run double with the bases loaded that snapped a 3-3 tie — and a near miss, by a foot or two, of a three-run home run to dead center. LeMahieu instead settled for a 400-plus foot sacrifice fly that made it 6-4.

"Feel like the last few days he’s getting closer to being the DJ we all know," Aaron Boone said after Tuesday’s game. "Hopefully he’s starting to roll a little bit."

Before that night’s game, Boone acknowledged the lofty standards when it comes to LeMahieu because of past performance.

"He set the bar really high and [he's] working hard to get to that level where he’s ‘The Machine,’ " Boone said, using the nickname Gary Sanchez gave LeMahieu in April 2019. "These last couple of games, I feel like he’s really starting to lock it in a little bit."

For his part, LeMahieu said after Tuesday’s game: "I feel good. I feel better."

"You know, I’m usually not one of those hitters that goes 20-for-25 with 10 homers, it’s kind of just a consistently good at-bats," LeMahieu said. "And I feel like over the last week, I’ve felt good. Hope I continue that."

LeMahieu, whose quiet, unflappable demeanor already is the stuff of legend in the Yankees clubhouse — as it was with the Rockies before that — has never expressed frustration publicly during his slow start.

"Every year is different," he said with an audible shrug. "Sometimes you can go up to the plate and feel like you can get a hit lefthanded and other times it’s a grind. I’ve got a lot of season left and, like I said, hopefully put together a lot of good at-bats."

Pretty much the entire Yankees lineup did that in Tuesday’s critical fourth inning, one the Yankees entered trailing 3-0 but left with a two-run lead.

And that was something LeMahieu was far more proud of, collectively speaking, than his contributions.

"Just a lot of really good at-bats up and down the lineup, seems like everyone had a good at-bats," LeMahieu said. "That was good timing. They had just put up three runs, so for us to come back and put up five the way we did, I thought it tells a lot about our offense."

An offense that overall LeMahieu believes is poised, and not just him, for the kind of consistent stretch mostly missing this season.

"I thought everyone swung it really good," he said. "We had some timely hits, some really good at-bats, some good walks. That’s kind of what we’re made of and what we expect."

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