Crooked numbers back on Stadium scoreboard

Preparing for the All-Star Home Run Derby next week at Citi Field, American League captain Robinson Cano got the Yankees off the one-run-per-game wagon they had been on by whacking a three-run home run off Royals righthander Wade Davis in the third inning of Wednesday night’s 8-1 blowout of Kansas City.

The Yankees scored one run in the first inning on a wild pitch by Davis. They had scored one run in the first inning the night before against Kansas City and that was all they got. The Yanks also scored one run Monday night against the Royals and one run Sunday against the Orioles. Cano saw to it that the offense did not stop at one this time.

The All-Star second baseman’s 21st homer of the year was an impressive blow, a drive to center over the wall to the left of Monument Park. It scored ahead of him Luis Cruz, who led off the inning with a single, and Brett Gardner, who was hit by a pitch. Gardner had some night. He reached base four times on two walks and two hit by pitches. Gardner had a nasty bruise on his right shin from the second plunking and came out of the game. X-rays were negative.

Cano’s homer was his 1,558th career hit, which moved him past Thurman Munson into 18th place in the Yanks’ career list. “I feel honored because I know how much Thurman meant here,” Cano said.

It was almost as if the entire Yankees dugout let out a sigh of relief. For the first time in four days and over 33 innings, the Yankees had a crooked number on the scoreboard. Three innings later, Lyle Overbay did Cano one better by clubbing his fourth career grand slam to boost the Yanks’ lead to 8-0.

Cano had a hand in that rally, too, in fact he started it with an opposite-field single. Vernon Wells, pinch hitting for Travis Hafner (bruised left foot, x-rays negative), hit a ground single to left that moved Cano to third and Zoilo Almonte walked to fill the bases. Overbay unloaded on a full count against Davis, who was done for the night – real done (6 innings, 8 hits, 8 earned runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 1 hit batter, 1 wild pitch, 2 home runs).

It was Overbay’s second home run of the series. He went deep Monday night as a pinch hitter for the Yankees’ only run. It was also the first baseman’s first bases-loaded home run since May 10, 2006 for the Blue Jays against the Athletics.

“We needed that really bad,” Cano said of the explosive offense that led to the most runs the Yankees have scored in a game at Yankee Stadium this year.

Cano made another bid for a home run in the seventh, but this time his drive to center to the right of Monument Park hit off the top of the fence and back onto the field. Lorenzo Cain, who had played an impressive center field in this series, made an amazing, one-bounce throw to third base to cut down Cano trying for a triple.

This abundance of offense seemed very safe in the right hand of Ivan Nova, who is working himself back into the rotation very nicely. The righthander extended his scoreless streak to 14 innings by holding the Royals scoreless the first seven. A two-out walk, a defensive-indifference advance and a double by Eric Hosmer spoiled Nova’s shutout bid in the eighth.

“I could have sent him out for the ninth, but he had done his job by then,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He had a good downhill fastball, a very good curveball and an occasional changeup. It should build his confidence.”

Since coming off the disabled list, Nova is 3-1 with a 2.29 ERA to lower his season ERA from 6.48 to 3.63. The righthander has a 2.95 ERA over his past three starts and is proving valuable in a rotation that has one 41-year-old (Andy Pettitte, Thursday’s starter in the series finale) and one 39-year-old (Hiroki Kuroda).

“Having extra starting pitchers is a good thing,” Girardi said.

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