NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez has had some startling success early in his return from a yearlong suspension.
After New York’s breakout night in the Bronx, A-Rod thinks the Yankees are ready to surprise some people around the major leagues, too.
Rodriguez had a three-run double in a seven-run first-inning outburst, and the Yankees broke out the bats and avoided their worst start in more than 25 years with a 14-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on April 12.
Chase Headley and Stephen Drew had consecutive homers as a New York lineup that entered hitting .193 throttled Clay Buchholz (1-1) to avoid a three-game sweep and win for just the second time in six games.
“I think overall it’s good to see one through nine come out and get some good at-bats, get some hits,” Rodriguez said. “I think this is a game that we needed.”
Masahiro Tanaka survived one wild stretch to earn his first victory and with five solid innings somewhat put to rest concern about his right elbow.
Brian McCann hit his 200th career homer in the eighth, Rodriguez walked with the bases loaded for a fourth RBI and Headley added a run-scoring single for New York, which had 16 hits. Carlos Beltran, who entered 2 for 20, singled twice, and Brett Gardner had a two-run single. Every Yankees starter had a hit and scored a run.
“We know we have a really good offense in here,” McCann said.
The Red Sox were hoping to match their best start since 2006 at 5-1. Instead, they fell flat heading into Monday’s home opener against Washington.
“Two road series wins for us and now we go home — looking forward to the opener tomorrow and getting back in front of our fans,” Manager John Farrell said.
Tanaka (1-1) looked a whole lot more impressive than he did on opening day through three innings, mixing in more fastballs — topping out at 92 mph. He retired nine of his first 11 batters, allowing one hit and a walk.
But he lost control in a 38-pitch fourth, throwing two wild pitches and 17 balls as the Red Sox scored three times. Xander Bogaerts had a two-run double for one of Boston’s two hits in the inning.
“I thought he was better with his fastball but he didn’t throw as many strikes with his off-speed as he did; it was the opposite,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “The next step is to put them both together and we’ll have Tanaka.”
Overall, Tanaka allowed four hits and four runs — three earned. He struck out four and walked three.
Girardi called this an important game for the Yankees — they last opened the season 1-5 in 1989 — before a stretch in which they play 25 of 35 on the road.
The Yankees hadn’t even had a hit in the first inning through five games, but on Sunday they had their highest-scoring first inning against the Red Sox since putting up eight runs on Aug. 15, 1954.
Batting sixth, Rodriguez came up with the bases loaded and drilled a liner into the gap in left-center. Buchholz kicked at the cleats cleaner on the back of the mound after McCann scored from first.
Headley followed with two-run shot and, two pitches later, Drew connected for a 7-0 lead. “It was fun,” Headley said. “It takes the burden off.”
Hanley Ramirez hit his third homer, a solo shot off Tanaka in the fifth, and added a sacrifice fly.
The Yankees chased Buchholz with one out in the fourth after Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly made it 10-3.
Buchholz yielded 10 runs — nine earned — nine hits and two walks.
“Felt good with all of my pitches. The command was a little off at first but after that I felt really good,” Buchholz said.
(HOWIE RUMBERG, AP Baseball Writer)