"After the game, it felt like we had clinched a playoff spot or something," Gardner said, with a grin. "A much-needed win. Hopefully we'll win the series tomorrow and feel good about where things are headed."
Gardner was 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, which came as a run was forced home by the hit-by-pitch. Manager Joe Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue checked on Gardner at first base and were waved off, but Dustin Ackley replaced Gardner on defense in the ninth inning.
"I'll probably have a better idea once I wake up tomorrow, see how I feel," Gardner said. "Sometimes it can be worse the second day, swell up a little bit. I'm sure we'll put a tight wrap on there tonight, hopefully try to keep it elevated while I sleep, and it feels better tomorrow."
Girardi said that he does have some concerns about Gardner's availability over the next couple of days.
"Well, Gardy just tells you, 'I'm OK, get away,'" Girardi said. "But we could tell it was sore. I could tell by the way he was reacting it was pretty sore, because Gardy is usually pretty obnoxious in a lot of ways, and he wasn't saying much."
Gardner said that being able to celebrate a victory after the six-game losing streak was a much-needed release for the Yanks.
"Absolutely. We've been waiting for that for almost a week," Gardner said. "We're in a stretch of 20 games in a row, so there are no more off-days, no more time to sit around and recharge. I'm happy with the way everybody played tonight."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.