A-Rod paces Yankees' big night with bats

A-Rod paces Yankees' big night with bats

NEW YORK -- The Yankees had combined for 17 runs through their first five games of the season before a much-needed outburst on Sunday night.

New York awoke from its week-long slumber in the first inning, scoring seven runs off Boston starter Clay Buchholz on the way to a 14-4 victory at Yankee Stadium.

"I think it was important for our guys," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've scored three or four runs, but it was nice to get a lead, because we haven't led too often this year."

The scoring was ignited by Alex Rodriguez, who ripped a bases-clearing double to left-center field to ignite the first-inning outburst. Chase Headley and Stephen Drew followed with back-to-back homers, the first time the Yankees have done so this season, as part of the inning.

Headley's two-run homer

Scoring double-digit runs has not come easy for the Yankees. They did so just four times throughout 2014, and their three home runs Sunday -- including one from McCann in the eighth, the 200th of his career -- marked a season high.

Rodriguez is beginning to establish himself as perhaps the Yankees' most productive offensive player. He finished the evening 1-for-2 with two walks and four RBIs.

Through the first week of the season, Rodriguez is batting .300/.417/.550, with a home run and six RBIs.

"[Rodriguez] has been really good," Girardi said. "That's a huge hit in the first inning for us to get us going and to give us a big lead."

Girardi on Yankees' 14-4 win

Considering Rodriguez had not played in a Major League game in more than a year prior to Opening Day, neither he nor the Yankees was sure what to expect from him heading into this season. Rodriguez attributed his hot start to his work in Spring Training, but admitted he would have a better barometer on his hitting after 100 at-bats.

"This is such an incredibly special year for me," Rodriguez said. "So different. I don't have anything to gauge it against. I'm really just trying to do the best I can every at-bat."

Rodriguez batted sixth in the lineup on Sunday, his fifth batting-order spot in the Yankees' first six games of the season. He also has hit second, third and fourth, and twice has hit seventh. 

"I've been working hard and I've been feeling better each day, but I have to remain patient and not expect too much," Rodriguez said. "Really try to take small bites, sometimes a walk, and sometimes just pass the baton, get a good pitch to hit and get good wood on it."

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.