NEW YORK - As the long drive towards left field left his bat, Lyle Overbay first thought he had a sacrifice fly. But the ball kept carrying, Overbay had his first grand slam in more than six years and the New York Yankees were in a rare blowout.
Everything came together Wednesday night in an 8-1 rout of the Kansas City Royals before a Yankee Stadium crowd of 35,781 that saw the Yankees score more than seven runs at home for the first time all season and snap a three-game losing streak.
Robinson Cano had three hits, including a three-run home run in the third inning and Ivan Nova (4-2) turned in his second straight dominant showing, allowing one run and five hits in eight innings.
One night earlier, Overbay came up with the bases loaded in the first inning after the Yankees scored their only run and had four singles. He wound up striking out for the fifth time in that situation but with a chance to officially put the game out of reach, Overbay was trying to avoid pulling the ball to the right side.
"I'm just glad I put a swing on it and got it in the outfield for a sac fly," Overbay said. "I can't count how many times I've struck out with bases loaded. It's been one of those things, so I was just happy I put the ball in play and at least hit a sac fly and then it just started to keep going."
Overbay's fourth career grand slam -- and his first since May 10, 2006 for Toronto against Oakland's Joe Blanton -- came after he fouled off three fastballs earlier in the at-bat against Kansas City starter Wade Davis (4-8).
"I felt that if you try to pull that ball, typically it's a ground ball double play or something like that," Overbay said. "I'm thinking just get that fly ball to the outfield and let it do its thing."
Added Yankees manager Joe Girardi, "He's had a lot of big hits for us this year. Obviously, that's a hit that really gives you a big lead in a sense."
The Yankees won for the seventh time in 10 games, scoring more than seven runs for the eighth time this season.
The win also came on a night when they suffered two injuries that are not considered serious.
Travis Hafner left the game with a left foot contusion and Gardner suffered a right leg contusion. The Yankees said both players are day-to-day after x-rays were negative.
Other than that, it was one of New York's easiest nights of the year.
"Of course (it was big)," Cano said. "How many games do you score eight runs and lose at home. It's good the way we played."
"It's nice," Girardi said. "I take it on a day-by-day basis, but obviously when you get a big lead you can do some different things. It is nice but I've said all along we're going to have to win a lot of close games this year and we've been pretty good at it. But it's nice to win a game 8-1."
Nova allowed two-out singles in the first and then retired 12 straight hitters on 38 pitches. By the time he allowed another hit, the Yankees had a 4-0 lead on Cano's 21st home run, a drive that kept carrying and just cleared the left-center field wall.
"Nova was excellent," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "He had an outstanding fastball that he kept down and his curveball was probably the best we've seen all year."
After working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, Nova retired 10 straight hitters before losing his shutout bid on Eric Hosmer's base hit in the eighth.
"Nova was doing real well," Overbay said. "He was pitching real well and I think adding a couple of extra runs maybe (helped) but he was doing just fine."
After getting strong performances from Jeremy Guthrie and James Shields, Davis was tagged with his third straight loss. He tied a season high by allowing eight runs on six hits in five-plus innings.
NOTES: New York RHP David Phelps will start a throwing program in Tampa on Monday and doesn't think his strained right forearm is anything serious. ... 3B Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-3 with an RBI in his sixth minor league rehab game while playing for Class A Tampa. ... SS Derek Jeter went 0-for-3 in his fourth rehab game for Class AAA Scranton Wilkes Barre. He also played in his third game in the field and the Yankees feel he needs to do that for seven or eight innings like he would do in a late-March Spring training game. ... C Salvador Perez had the night off. He has been dealing with a bruised right shin and took a foul ball off the mask Tuesday.