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Yankees' offensive resurgence during road trip justified Brian Cashman's faith

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks on the

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks on the phone on the field during batting practice against the Detroit Tigers during Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on Oct. 17, 2012. Credit: Getty Images

Brian Cashman figured the offensive woes his team left town with a little more than a week ago were only a short-term problem.

"The offense was obviously much better than it had been playing of late," he said by phone Thursday. "I was waiting for it to fall back into place."

That it did during the just-completed six-game road trip in which the Yankees went 5-1 and outscored Atlanta and Boston by a combined 57-24.

It was more indicative of how the Yankees, who start a 10-game homestand Friday night against the Rays, have produced runs this season. They are not as potent as the AL East-leading Blue Jays, whom they trail by 11/2 games, but the Yankees have been among baseball's highest-scoring teams much of the season.

Still, August did bring a downturn, particularly toward the end of a 10-game homestand in which the Yankees lost five of the last seven. They totaled seven runs and hit .163 (20-for-123) in the last four games, which concerned Cashman, even though he remained confident they'd snap out of their funk.

"It's healthy to doubt. You never count on anything," Cashman said. "Injuries happen but you have to overcome it, and this team always seemed to find a way to get off the mat and bounce back. But we were hitting the skids far too long on offense. August was brutal for us."

But even with the longer-than-expected absence of Mark Teixeira, the very end of the month brought a respite with help from the schedule -- the fast-fading Braves and the last-place Red Sox.

The Yankees trounced the Braves twice -- 15-4 last Friday night and 20-6 on Sunday -- on their way to outscoring them 38-11 in a three-game sweep.

"The schedule broke down in a way that we got an Atlanta team that we should beat up on and we did, and that kind of got the confidence going," Cashman said. "And then we rolled into Boston, which is always a tough place to play and they had been playing good baseball, and I'm thankful we took two out of three."

Somewhat surprisingly, the bottom of the Yankees' order led the offensive resurgence on the trip, with much-maligned Stephen Drew a significant contributor.

Drew, signed in the offseason to a one-year, $5-million deal, went 9-for-20 with nine RBIs on the trip and raised his average to .211. Before going 4-for-4 Sunday, he hadn't been as high as .200 all season. "He's been a much better player than he was the first two months," Cashman said.

Drew's double-play partner, Didi Gregorius, went 14-for-24 with 10 RBIs on the trip.

Cashman said Drew, who had a .157/.225/.301 slash line at the end of May, made some swing adjustments during a series in Oakland at the very end of May. Since June 1, Drew has a .251/.323/.483 slash line, with 12 of his 17 homers and 29 of his 44 RBIs.

"He's been playing great defense,'' Cashman said, "and since he made the mechanical adjustment, he's been much better on offense than he's given credit for."

Notes & quotes: Luis Severino, who starts Friday night, has been terrific in his first five big-league games (2-2, 2.17), and Cashman didn't sound concerned about the rookie making important starts down the stretch. "From my perspective, he's earned the right to compete every five days in a pennant race," Cashman said. "He's earned the right and we're comfortable giving him that opportunity. We tell all our young players, if you perform, you'll get more chances; if you don't, you'll get less chances. And he's clearly performed." . . . CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday and could be activated by the middle of next week when he's eligible to come off the DL.

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