KANSAS CITY, Mo -- Every night brings a different hero for the New York Yankees. On Friday night, it was Lyle Overbay.
Overbay had four hits, including three extra-base hits, and drove in five runs as the New York Yankees pounded the Kansas City Royals 11-6 at Kauffman Stadium.
"I felt good," Overbay said after the game. "It was nice to have new scenery, because I was terrible in Colorado (in the last series in which he went 1-for-10). I just tried to take advantage."
The Yankees, with many of their regulars on the disabled list, have been relying on reserves to carry the load so far in a 21-13 season, good for first place in the American League East.
"Sometimes baseball doesn't make any sense," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "On a night when we'd need some runs we got them. We got a big night from Overbay. Ichiro (Suzuki) gets the start and we get a big night from him. Chris Nelson drove in two important runs."
The victory was the 500th of Girardi's managerial career.
"I've been blessed to have this opportunity," Girardi said. "Cash (GM Brian Cashman) trusted me and put me in this position. I'm fortunate. As a child you dream about playing in the big leagues. I don't know if you dream about managing, but as I got older it was something I really wanted to do."
Girardi won 500 games in 844 games, the fifth fastest in Yankees history.
Overbay's first career four-hit game included a home run and two doubles off Kansas City starter Wade Davis (2-3). Overbay also collected an RBI single in the top of the ninth against J.C. Gutierrez. Davis gave up seven runs on seven hits through five-plus innings.
Davis had entered the game on a streak of 5 2/3 hitless innings against the Yankees, all in relief last year with Tampa Bay. But after a 1-2-3 first, the Yankees unloaded on Davis in the second.
Travis Hafner coaxed a lead-off walk before Ichiro Suzuki sent the first pitch into the right-field bullpen for a 2-0 lead. Jayson Nix then followed with a double that one-hopped the wall in left, and Overbay hit the second two-run home run of the inning.
"I thought Wade did OK," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "They did a lot of damage on pitches up. Wade struggled to command the ball down consistently.
"I'm looking at five pitches they did the damage on. The walks hurt; they both scored. They didn't kill him, but the walks hurt. He left five pitches up and they took advantage.
Every once in a while you might foul that pitch back but they didn't. They didn't miss. If you don't have your best stuff, you'd like to pitch down in the zone. I thought Wade had OK stuff, but he just left some pitches up."
Davis agreed with his manager.
"I made it look a lot harder than it should," he said. "When you don't command your pitches you can make anybody look a lot better. I didn't execute my pitches."
It's a good thing for Girardi and the Yankees that they were able to slug 16 hits for 11 runs, because Phil Hughes (2-2) labored through 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win. He gave up six earned runs on seven hits.
"I wasn't very good," Hughes said. "The guys stepped up big and gave me a bunch of runs. I gave up a couple of leads, which is never a good thing. But the guys kept at it and scored a ton of runs. Thankfully I was able to throw my not-so-good game on a night when we scored a lot of runs."
The Royals answered quickly in their half of the second. Hughes gave up a lead-off walk to Eric Hosmer in the bottom of the second, followed by a single by Salvador Perez. After striking out Mike Moustakas and Elliot Johnson, Hughes served up a 2-2 fastball to Jarrod Dyson, who hit his first home run in more than two years to cut the lead to 4-3.
"I was really trying to dig deep and get an out there," he said. "I missed with a slider, then tried to go back in with a fastball but it was in a bad location."
Overbay added to the Yankees' lead in the fourth with an RBI double to left center that scored Nix.
Alex Gordon tied the score in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run double, scoring Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain who stroked consecutive singles. It gave Gordon a league-best 16 multihit games.
But Overbay wasn't done. After Suzuki led off the sixth with a double and Nix followed with a single, Overbay greeted reliever Bruce Chen with a double off the right-field fence, scoring Suzuki. Chris Nelson then singled in Nix and Overbay to give the Yankees an 8-5 lead.
"He made a good pitch on the first pitch," said Overbay, who has struggled this season against lefthanders going 3-for-33 against them coming into Friday's game. "He kind of made a mistake on the second pitch."
Brett Gardner had an RBI triple and Robinson Cano drove him home with a single in a five-run sixth inning.
Moustakas homered with one out in the bottom of the sixth.
NOTES: Dyson's last home run was off Minnesota's Kevin Slowey on September 27, 2010, a span of 376 at bats. ... The Yankees reached double-digits in runs for the first time since a 14-1 victory at Cleveland on April 9. ... The Royals are now 12-4 after 16 home games in 2013. At this point last season, they were 3-13, including beginning the season with a 10-game losing streak at Kauffman Stadium. ... Yankees OF Curtis Granderson began his rehab assignment Thursday night with a 1-for-3 outing for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre.