After dropping seven of their first eight games on their season-high 12-game road trip, the Yankees’ bats finally came alive Wednesday. New York had 16 hits to avoid an embarrassing sweep and beat the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3.
Perhaps frustrated by the club’s struggles and its inability to score runs of late, Torre and Tino Martinez were ejected in the top of the fifth inning for arguing with the first-base umpire over a checked-swing call.
Torre came out to argue after the ejection of Martinez, and ended up getting tossed after a prolonged shouting match with ump Larry Vanover.
The Yankees responded aggressively after the ejections, led by Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod went 4-for-4 and hit his 399th and 400th home runs, becoming the youngest player to reach the 400-homer mark.
“It was a very special day for me, especially if you do it in a win that we needed most desperately,” Rodriguez, 29, said after the Yankees won for just the second time in 11 games. “It’s a special number. I’m actually just excited to do it with this uniform on.”
New York also got a solid pitching performance from right-hander Mike Mussina, who went six innings and gave up three runs and six hits with eight strikeouts.
“I think we were just hoping for a nice win,” Mussina said. “It didn’t have to be 12-3, but today we got some big hits. It’s been a tough trip so far, but hopefully we can pull something out of this as we go to the last city of the four (St. Louis).”
The Yankees moved to within six games of the AL East lead, but getting closer won’t be easy against St. Louis.
The Cardinals, coming off a 4-0 loss to Boston and ex-Yankee David Wells on Wednesday, hold a comfortable lead atop the NL Central. Despite the defeat, St. Louis won the first two games of the set, a rematch of last year’s World Series, by a combined score of 16-3.
“I feel really good about the way we played,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “But you get in a position to win three, we’re disappointed we didn’t get the third one.”
St. Louis will send right-hander Jason Marquis to the mound for the opener of three-game series with the Yankees, the first meeting between the teams since June 2003.