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Yankees hit five home runs in 14-3 victory over Tigers

New York Yankees centerfielder Brett Gardner, designated hitter

New York Yankees centerfielder Brett Gardner, designated hitter Alex Rodriguez and third baseman Chase Headley celebrate the three-run home run by Rodriguez against the Detroit Tigers during the third inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, June 20, 2015. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The pitches hung lazily in the strike zone, balls dropped where they needed to and men in pinstripes ambled around the bases and across home plate with carefree ease.

Oh, we don't mean Old-Timers' Day. We mean the major-league game that came after it.

In keeping with their recent trend of offensive dominance (and of giving starter Nathan Eovaldi more run support than he might ever need), the Yankees shellacked the Tigers, 14-3, Saturday night and continued to display the potential to be one of the most dangerous offensive teams in baseball.

The Yankees scored five runs in the third inning, had 12 runs before Eovaldi went through the order twice and wound up hitting five home runs. They outhit the Tigers 16-2 through five innings and finished with 18 hits.

The Yankees were helped along by Brett Gardner, who was a homer short of the cycle by the end of the third, and Alex Rodriguez, who notched RBIs in each of the first three innings (the final three of his five RBIs came on a home run in the third).

"Gardner has been the key for us in the top of the lineup, especially when [Jacoby] Ellsbury went down," said Carlos Beltran, who hit solo homers from both sides of the plate. "We're proud of him . . . We were hoping for him to [get] a home run."

Didi Gregorius and Chris Young also went deep.

As for Eovaldi (6-2), he more than redeemed himself on three days' rest, going six innings-plus and allowing two runs and three hits. All three Tigers runs came in the seventh after the Yankees had built a 13-0 lead by scoring in each of the first five innings.

In his previous start against the Marlins, Eovaldi gave up eight earned runs in two-thirds of an inning, but his low pitch count then (36) meant he was more than ready to go Saturday night, giving Masahiro Tanaka an extra day of rest. He entered the game with a 6.65 run-support average, and it went up.

Things kicked off quickly as Gardner smacked Alfredo Simon's seventh pitch about 385 feet to right-center for a leadoff triple. One out later, A-Rod smoked a shot to third. Andrew Romine made the grab from his knees, but his throw to the plate (which should have been in plenty of time) hit Gardner in the back of the helmet and went to the backstop, allowing him to score the first run.

"He's been really good," Joe Girardi said. "When he goes, a lot of times, we score a lot of runs, and he creates a lot of runs, a lot of havoc on the bases."

Gregorius, who hit a second-inning solo homer Friday night, repeated the feat almost exactly, leading off the second with a solo shot to right-center. Later in the inning, Rodriguez's bases-loaded sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

Beltran led off the third with a homer to right-center and Chase Headley added a two-out RBI single to knock out Simon. Ian Krol didn't fare much better, allowing a three-run homer to A-Rod, the first batter he faced.

Even Tigers infielder Josh Wilson got in on the Yankees' long-ball fun. He pitched the eighth and watched Young drive his fourth pitch over the fence.

"We're definitely capable, [and] it's just a matter of trying to maintain that consistency for more than a week or two," said Gardner, who made no secret of trying to hit a homer in his final three at-bats. "The game was a little out of hand, so I wasn't necessarily going up there and taking my usual patient at-bats," he said. "It's a lot of fun."


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