The Yankees' bats came alive and backed starter Michael Pineda as New York beat the Royals, 11-7, on Wednesday night in Kansas City. >> Click here for the full box score
The Yankees scored early in the first inning on a Starlin Castro double and then added five runs in the fourth and four in the fifth and one in the eighth.
Castro finished the day 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Aaron Hicks went deep and drove in three runs as part of a two-hit day. Brett Gardner also tripled and had two hits and two RBIs. Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
Pineda went six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks. He allowed two homers but also struck out five. Adam Warren threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
With two more hits including another home run, Hicks continues to thrive and gain confidence in an expanded role.
Hicks did not receive many plate appearances early in the 2016 season and it adversely affected his production when he received an extended look in May. Hicks scuffled in June and July, but began to see more playing time in August and he performed quite well.
Hicks' production that month seemed to have made an impression with the Yankees as they placed him in a spring competition with Aaron Judge for the starting right field job. Hicks nearly won the spot, yet showed enough in spring training to earn a larger role. Hicks has been starting three to four days per week which has allowed the Yankees to rest Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.
The role is providing Hicks consistent playing time and he's making the most of it, hitting .326 through tonight's ballgame. Hicks' seven home runs is one short of his 2016 total in 250 fewer plate appearances. Hicks might be playing part time, but his production resembles that of an everyday player, making him an important key to the team's success.
The Yankees will close out their three-game series with the Royals in Kansas City at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday.
LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 4.19 ERA) gets the start for the Yankees and will be opposed by Danny Duffy (2-3, 3.38 ERA).