“Sometimes I feel like home runs aren’t hits,” he said afterward. “But they are hits.”
Alex Rodriguez, though, knows there’s a good point behind all the questions.
“You’re not going to hit home runs against great pitching,” A-Rod said after his four-hit game that included two infield singles. “You have to have diversity in the way you score runs. The things we did in that inning are going to count when it really counts.”
That inning was their no-homer, eight-run, 13-batter seventh. The Yankees showed they are indeed capable of playing small ball. A-Rod had the go-ahead infield hit toward third. But he pointed to a walk worked out by Chris Dickerson, Derek Jeter’s two-run single to tie it and Curtis Granderson’s sacrifice to put two in scoring position as “the things we have not been doing the last three or four weeks.”
They haven’t been doing so well in the RISP department. In their previous five home games, they were 4 for 33. In the seventh inning, they were 5 for 7 with RISP, including 4 for 4 with the bases packed.
Granderson did hit the Yankees’ one homer of the day. It was his 16th, making this just the fourth time in the last 50 years that a Yankee has hit at least that many in the first 45 games. But he was happy with his nice bunt toward third as well.
“If I’m asked to sacrifice bunt, I’m going to take pride in getting that bunt down,” he said.
Girardi, of course, took the bat out of the hands of the majors’ second-leading home-run hitter, but he had a reason.
“I just felt like you’re getting the winning run 90 feet away,” Girardi said.
*Ivan Nova somehow only gave up three runs, all in the second, despite allowing a career-high 11 hits in 6 2/3.
“He did grind it out,” Girardi said. “At times, he struggled a little bit with his command, but he made some pitches when he had to.
“You have to take what you saw today, if you’re him, and say, ‘I’m capable of doing it. When I’m struggling a little bit with my command, I can make pitches when I have to.’ ”
Nova has given up three earned runs or less in six of his nine starts.
*A-Rod is batting .481 (13 for 27) in his last six games.
*Jeter (2 for 4) extended his home hitting streak against the Mets to 25 games.
*The Yankees are now 9-0 at home in rubber games against the Mets and 10-3 overall in these deciding games of three-game series against them.
*Toronto now comes in for a three-game series. Monday night the starters will be Bartolo Colon and Carlos Villanueva.
The photo of Curtis Granderson is courtesy of The Associated Press.