- Last Updated: 1:57 PM, June 26, 2012
- Posted: 2:23 AM, June 26, 2012
Now that the Yankees have finished beating up on the Mets, they’re getting started on the AL Central.
They belted three more home runs in a 7-1 win over the Indians in The Bronx last night.
And Robinson Cano hit his sixth homer in his last eight games, giving him 17 on the season.
“Everything is connecting,” Cano said. “But I’m not thinking about homers. I’m trying to get a hit and if I get a home run, perfect.”
It’s an attitude that seems to be working for the second baseman, who had a hard time finding his power early in the season and has had struggled to drive in runs consistently all year.
But he came through with a two-run double in the first inning last night, as the Yankees gave Hiroki Kuroda plenty of support out of the gate. Kuroda did just fine, too, giving up just one run in seven-plus innings.
“His splitter was outstanding,” catcher Chris Stewart said of the right-hander, who struck out seven.
The Yankees scored two runs in each of the first three innings off Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin, which was more than enough. And Cano’s bat proved especially dangerous.
“Maybe he’s getting ready for the home run derby,” Nick Swisher said of the second baseman, who won the All-Star competition last year, is captaining the AL team this time around and just overtook Ian Kinsler for the lead in the voting at second base.
Cano remained optimistic even when the results weren’t there that the results would come. He wasn’t alone.
“His swing is always so good,” said another lefty, Raul Ibanez. “He’s a natural. He’s one of the guys I would watch on the other team when I played against them. I really enjoyed watching how smooth he was; his rhythm and how easy it seemed. Sometimes I’d watch just to watch and other times, I’d really pay attention to see if there were things in there I could try to emulate.”
That could be easier said than done.
Whatever Cano has done lately has worked and the same can be said for Kuroda, who improved to 7-7 and is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last seven starts.
He earned the Yankees’ first win by a starter since CC Sabathia’s complete-game victory over the Braves last Monday.
Kuroda had little difficulty disposing of the Indians, who didn’t score until the eighth. He got some help with excellent plays by Cano, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira in the infield and Swisher in right.
And the offense wore out Tomlin, who fell to 3-5 and was in trouble from the start.
Jeter grounded out to start the bottom of the first after a nine-pitch at-bat and Curtis Granderson followed with a 10-pitch walk.
Teixeira’s single set up Cano’s two-run double and Dewayne Wise — subbing for Granderson in center — added his first homer of the year in the second.
Cano’s homer in the third all but put the game away.
“I couldn’t see anything different from him,” Joe Girardi said of Cano’s ineffectiveness earlier in the year.
The manager was just as encouraged by the double, because it came with runners in scoring position.
“We want to get him on a roll there, as well, because he’s in the middle of the lineup,” Girardi said. “He can carry your club. “He’s just turned it around.”
Not a moment too soon.