Cano powers Yankees past D-backs

Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Ten days ago, Robinson Cano was hitting .111, and the New York Yankees were off to a 1-4 start.
Since then, Cano has heated up, and so have the Yankees.
Cano continued his torrid streak by hitting a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and that was enough offense to give the Yankees a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in their first interleague game Tuesday night.
"Robby got going, and we got going as a team," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "It was a big three-run home run tonight, and it ends up being the game-winning hit. It seemed like when he got hot, we got hot and our offense took off."
Cano continued his recent tear with his fourth home run. All of his home runs have been out the No. 2 spot, and he is 13-for-25 with 11 RBIs over his past six games.
"I haven't realized that," Cano said of his hot stretch coinciding with New York's surge. "I'm in the top of the lineup, and you want to get on base for your guys. The team has been really good lately.
"It means a lot when you hear it from your manager. ... That's what you want. You want to be here and the guy that they can count on."
Cano's home run also came on the day the Yankees celebrated Jackie Robinson Day. The Yankees had a scheduled off day Monday, the 66th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers, so all players wore the No. 42 on Tuesday.
Appropriately, Cano, whose first name honors the man who broke the color barrier, and Mariano Rivera, the last player who regularly wears No. 42, led the Yankees to the win. Rivera got the save.
The Yankees are missing All-Stars Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez, but Cano's home run was their 19th in their first 12 games.
Behind Cano, who did not hit his fourth home run last year until May 18, the Yankees won for the sixth time in seven games. They have hit 13 home runs in that span and are hitting .321 as a team.
The home run came after the Yankees left the bases loaded in the opening two innings against Brandon McCarthy (0-2). They started the fourth with consecutive singles by Lyle Overbay and Chris Stewart.
After Brett Gardner struck out, Cano got ahead 3-0. After the count went full, he swung at a changeup and sent it into the lower rows of the right-center field bleachers.
"Cano's arguably one of the best hitters in the game," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He got to a 3-2 count, and the ball didn't move as much as he needed it to. But even if it does, he's a very good hitter, and he got us."
Rainouts pushed Ivan Nova's second start back 11 days, and this time, he made it through the fifth inning after pitching 4 1/3 innings on April 5 in Detroit. Nova (1-1) allowed two runs and nine hits in five innings in an outing that saw him pitch better after laboring through the first three innings.
Boone Logan struck out two in the sixth and recorded the first out of the seventh. Joba Chamberlain recorded the final two outs of the seventh, and David Robertson pitched a hitless eighth.
Rivera pitched a hitless ninth for his third save of the season and 611th of his career.
McCarthy made his fourth career start against the Yankees but was tagged with three runs and nine hits in four innings. He seemed to have his changeup working effectively against left-handed hitters with the exception of the pitch to Cano.
"It's still such a hit-or-miss pitch that sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not," McCarthy said. "It's coming along. I felt like it was doing what it needed to do, but in that count, it might have been too good a pitch."
The game was New York's first since Monday's bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The Yankees showed their solidarity with Boston by playing Fenway Park favorite "Sweet Caroline" after the third inning.
NOTES: The Boston tragedy was on the minds of the Yankees, especially Kevin Youkilis, who appeared in six games on Patriots Day for the Red Sox and spent Monday afternoon texting friends and family in Boston to make sure nobody was injured. "I've been down there on the finish line, and it's an amazing thing to watch these people finish a marathon, and then something tragic like that happens," he said. "You can't put into words. We were very fortunate reaching out to all the people we know that everyone was OK. It was unfortunate that a hundred people are in the hospital or lost their lives. It ate me up a lot." ... New York left-hander Andy Pettitte threw about 35 to 40 pitches in a bullpen session and reported no pain with his back. Pettitte still remains on track to start Friday in Toronto. ... The Diamondbacks announced that second baseman Aaron Hill was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left hand. Gibson said Hill is expected to miss four to six weeks. Hill's roster spot was taken by infielder Didi Gregorius, who was acquired in the offseason in a three-team trade with the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. Gregorius, who had been on the disabled list with a strained right elbow, hit .387 in seven rehab games for Triple-A Reno.