Lyle Overbay and Brett Gardner, players who have known adversity, displayed their resilience in helping the Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox Thursday night.
Overbay delivered the game's biggest hit, a looping single to left-center with two outs in the second inning that gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead against Ryan Dempster.
"I got enough of it off the end of the bat to just bloop it in there,'' Overbay said. "Sometimes they are not as pretty as you write it up, but it will work.''
Gardner homered to lead off the third inning, lining a drive that carried into the first row in rightfield. He admitted he was not sure it would clear the wall when his first home run since Sept. 6, 2011, left the bat. "I don't hit enough of them to know,'' he said.
Overbay, 36, was signed by the Yankees to a minor-league contract March 26, hours after the Red Sox released him. He is part of a stopgap measure while the team waits to learn whether regular first baseman Mark Teixeira can avoid season-ending surgery on his right wrist. Gardner missed 142 games for the Yankees last year with an elbow injury.
Overbay said "it was kind of weird" to oppose the team that so recently rejected him. "You're over there getting ready,'' he said, "and all of a sudden you're on a different team.''
Overbay hit a combined .259 (30-for-116) with two homers and 10 RBIs in 65 games last season with the Diamondbacks and Braves. The Diamondbacks designated him for assignment July 30 and the Braves signed him Aug. 21.
Overbay managed one single through six at-bats through the first two games before stepping in to face Dempster in the second. Travis Hafner had singled to open the inning and had to stop at third on a two-out ground-rule double by Eduardo Nuñez. Overbay then looped Dempster's first-pitch fastball into left-center.
Besides his rare home run and a sixth-inning single on which he was thrown out trying for second, Gardner flashed his defensive ability in center. He raced to left-center to pull in David Ross' booming drive to end the seventh and preserve a 3-1 margin.
"I might be inconsistent at the plate at times,'' Gardner said, "but defense is something I can bring every day.''
The speedster strained his right elbow making a diving catch against the Twins last April 17. He ultimately required arthroscopic surgery and was not reinstated from the disabled list until Sept. 25. He wound up hitting .323 in 16 games.
As nightmarish as the lost time was, Gardner said, "I've already put last year behind me.''