Beltran's shot is club's first 3-run HR since April 7
By Joshua Needelman
NEW YORK -- In a few moments, Starlin Castro's home run during the seventh inning of the Yankees' 5-2 win on Monday would land in the left-field seats, a souvenir for the suddenly elated Yankee Stadium crowd.
But first, Castro held his bat, walked across home plate and watched the ball pierce the night sky.
Castro's blast following Brian McCann's homer knotted the game at 2, setting the stage for right fielder Carlos Beltran's three-run game-winning home run in the eighth inning. For a middling Yankees offense, the power surge was a good sign.
The Yankees have hardly lived up to their Bronx Bombers moniker this season, as they've hit just 58 homers, which is 10th lowest in the Major Leagues. In fact, they rank toward the bottom of the Majors in many offensive categories, including batting average (.238, 24th), OBP (.301, 26th) and SLG (.380, 27th).
With a dominant bullpen and a starting rotation boasting three starters with ERA's less than 4.10, the offense has lagged behind.
That trend continued for much of Monday, with right-hander Masahiro Tanaka grinding through seven innings of two-run ball while the Yankees bats managed two hits from the second inning through the sixth.
At one point during the stretch, Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker retired 12 in a row.
Then, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, McCann sent a 3-2 changeup into the second deck in right field one pitch after smashing a long foul ball into the seats.
Two pitches later, Castro belted his eighth homer of the season to tie it.
"It's kind of what we imagined when we put it together," manager Joe Girardi said. "There's power in this offense. It hasn't come out the way that it's capable of, but tonight's kind of a reminder what they can do, and they can do it quickly."
The Yankees weren't done. A day after the team went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner delivered two-out singles in the eighth. Beltran followed with his team-leading 14th homer -- the Yankees' first three-run homer since Mark Teixeira's blast on April 7 against Houston.
Girardi said the Yankees would be "a lot of games under .500," without Beltran's bat. Monday, he helped push the team in the right direction.
"It was high, so I didn't know if the right fielder was going to be able to make a play," Beltran said. "It was fun to see the ball leaving the ballpark."
Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.