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Hot-hitting Brett Gardner does it all at the plate

New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner looks

New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner looks for his pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Monday, June 22, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

If there's ever a study on the versatility of Brett Gardner, his performance in the Yankees' 11-8 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night might be Exhibit A.

Gardner went 4-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs, two runs and a walk. The night mixed the small with the big for the Yankees' leadoff man. It was his eighth career game with at least four hits and second in the last four games.

"He's a complete player that can beat you a lot of different ways," manager Joe Girardi said.

The small came first. Gardner reached base on a drag bunt to lead off the bottom of the first inning and came home on Brian McCann's sacrifice fly to tie the score at 1-1.

"Bunting has always been part of his game," Girardi said. "He took advantage of some situations and was prepared to do it tonight. He did a nice job."

Gardner did it again in his next at-bat, this one a push bunt toward third base in the third.

"I'm just trying to get on base early in the game," Gardner said of his bunting prowess. "There was nothing really to the first one. The second one was on a 3-1 count. Third baseman [Maikel Franco] backed up into leftfield and I laid one down."

Then came the blast, a three- run shot to right-center with two outs in the fourth that was estimated at 401 feet and cut the Philadelphia lead to 8-5.

The home run electrified a Yankee Stadium crowd that had been virtually silent after watching Yankees starter Michael Pineda give up eight runs and 11 hits in 31/3 innings.

"He threw me a changeup or a bad cutter. I'm not sure," Gardner said. "I saw the ball up, took a good swing and squared it up."

It was Gardner's third home run in his last five games during a stretch in which he's gone 12-for-20 and driven in eight runs.

Each of his last seven home runs has come with at least one runner on base and five of his eight homers this season have been of the three-run variety.

With two four-hit games and a three-hit game during the last four, he's 11-for-18 with two homers and six RBIs in that span. He is hitting .290 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs.

"I'm seeing the ball well," he said. "I've gotten some balls over the plate and taken good swings."

Gardner ended his night with a line-drive single to left in the eighth inning.

"Any time you have a three- game series, you want to try and win two out of three," he said. "When you lose the first one, it's tough to come back and win the series. We'll try and do our job [Tuesday night].''

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