Thunderstruck: Swisher leads homer barrage

Thunderstruck: Swisher leads homer barrage

Thunderstruck: Swisher leads homer barrage
NEW YORK -- Nick Swisher received a new shipment of bats about two hours before the first pitch of Friday night's game, and -- yes, you may find this hard to believe -- the hyperactive Yankees right fielder was pretty pumped about it.

You see, Swisher likens his lumber to a fashion statement, regularly switching up the colors the way he cycles out shirts and pants. Swinging a factory-fresh white model, Swisher homered from both sides of the plate as the Yankees trumped the Red Sox, 6-4, at Yankee Stadium.

"That's one cool thing, being a switch-hitter, because it's rare you feel good from both sides of the plate at the same time," Swisher said. "Just to be able to have a game like that, especially against the Red Sox, we want to continue playing the way were playing this week; just keep on pushing."

Swisher hit two of the Yankees' five solo home runs in the victory, clearing the fences batting right-handed in the first inning and again batting left-handed in the seventh. He used a glossy maple version for batting practice before busting out the white bats in the game and is racking his brain to christen his new weapons with a fitting moniker.

"The White Bombers. Or White Lightning?" Swisher said. "Whatever you want to call them. I don't have a nickname for them yet."

In the background of the homer barrage, Jayson Nix had the go-ahead hit for New York, lacing a sixth-inning RBI single to right field facing reliever Clayton Mortensen. Rafael Soriano locked down his 30th save in 32 chances as the Yankees won for the eighth time in their last 10 games, moving a season-high-tying 23 games over .500.

"We've got a lot of games left, so I don't think it's time to look at the scoreboard and see where people are," captain Derek Jeter said. "Our team, in the first 40 games, people said our season was over with. So anything's possible, and right now we need to worry about ourselves and continue to play well."

Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin joined Swisher in going deep off Boston starter Franklin Morales, as the Yankees have now clubbed 28 home runs in 10 games against the Red Sox this season, improving to 7-3 against Boston in 2012.

"That's the way they live and they had a whole bunch of them tonight," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.

The support was enough for Yankees starter Phil Hughes, who pitched well except for a rocky four-run third inning that included Dustin Pedroia's three-run homer -- with none of the runs earned, thanks to Hughes' own throwing error into center field.

"It was great, except for his throw to second," manager Joe Girardi said. "They probably should have had one run, the home run, and that was it. I thought he really pitched tonight. He threw more changeups tonight than he's probably done in four or five starts combined."

Otherwise, Hughes was effective, completing seven innings of four-hit ball while walking one and striking out four. Winning for the third time in five starts, Hughes retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced.

"You talk about bounce-back outings, and I was just trying to bounce back after a couple rough ones," Hughes said. "It's nice to come in and everyone stepped up today. It was a team win."

Hughes moved into position for his 12th victory thanks to Nix's two-out single off Mortensen in the sixth inning. Filling in for Jeter at shortstop, Nix dunked his hit onto the wet outfield grass, scoring Casey McGehee with the go-ahead run.

"I'm just trying to put a quality at-bat together," Nix said. "Those are big key at-bats. Two-out RBIs are key. They can really change the momentum of a game and put your foot on the other team."

But the homers stole the show, as the Yankees now boast a Major League-high 10 players with at least 10 home runs, tying a franchise record set in 1998.

"Everybody on this team has the ability to swing the bat very well, especially in this ballpark," Granderson said. "Even outside of that, we've done an excellent job of hitting home runs on the road as well."

After putting New York on the board with a first-inning blast, Swisher added insurance in the seventh with a blast into the Yankees' bullpen, marking the 12th time in his career that he has homered from both sides of the plate. He had also done it this season on April 28 against the Tigers.

Despite thunder and lightning, play was interrupted only for some work on the mound and home plate areas. It continued as Granderson and Martin clubbed back-to-back homers off Morales in the third inning and Jeter tied the game with a blast to left field off Morales in the fifth.

"That's what we've been doing lately, taking good at-bats and making the pitcher work out there," Martin said. "If he makes a mistake, we make him pay for it."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.