Chase Headley ends home run drought, lifts New York Yankees

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
New York Yankees' Chase Headley. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Yankees' Chase Headley. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- Chase Headley did not want to know when his last home run occurred and he was not placing odds the first one of this season would travel down the left field line.

It had been eight months since Headley's last home run and Thursday, the switch-hitting third baseman finally hit a ball nobody on the field could catch.


Headley ended a 170 at-bat drought without a home run with two outs in the third inning by hitting a two-run shot and the New York Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-3.

Headley, batting from the left side of the plate against right-hander Ian Kennedy (4-3), ended two droughts by connecting on a 3-1 fastball and sending it into the left field stands a few seats away from the foul pole.


"Probably if I was betting, I wouldn't have said that the first one would be going that way," Headley said.

It was the first time Headley connected since hitting a ball into the right field seats in the first game of a doubleheader Sept.12 against Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada.

It also was Headley's first extra base hit in 111 at-bats since getting a double in the eighth inning against Chicago White Sox reliever Daniel Webb on Sept. 27.

"That's encouraging," Headley said. "Honestly I've been working to try get the bat head in front of me a little bit and get the ball up in the air. I've taking some really good swings. I just haven't connected."

The hit also was part of Headley's fourth multi-hit game of the season. He is 7-for-20 over his last six games since getting two days off last week, raising his average 43 points to .194.

"My swing works," Headley said. "I've seen it work. I know that it works. I just got to have my swing. I haven't had it."

With Headley's swing working, the Yankees (14-19) won for the fifth time in seven games by hitting two other home runs and scoring two runs late.


"Chase is a good hitter," New York right fielder Carlos Beltran said. "Early in the season, he was scuffling like all hitters go through. Right now it seems like he's seeing the ball better."

Starlin Castro opened the scoring with a one-out solo home run in the first and Didi Gregorius turned an 0-1 curveball into a three-run homer with two outs in the fourth, giving the Yankees a 5-3 lead.

"I thought the pitch to Headley was a pretty good pitch that he drove out the other way, pretty good piece of hitting, and I thought the pitch the Gregorius hit was a pretty good pitch, curveball down," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "I didn't think they were mistakes."

Nathan Eovaldi (3-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings. His outing ended when Carlos Beltran made a leaping catch in front of the right field fence to take a potential home run away from Salvador Perez.

Kennedy was charged with seven runs and allowed five hits, including a career-high three home runs in 6 1/3 innings. The former Yankee was replaced by another former New York pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, who allowed an RBI single by Castro and a bases-loaded walk to Brian McCann in the seventh.


"It's kind of a waste when you feel good and you physically feel good and you lose and you don't give your team a chance," Kennedy said.

Alex Gordon homered and had an RBI single for the Royals (16-18), who lost for the 12th time in their last 16 games. Christian Colon's RBI single accounted for the other Kansas City run.

NOTES: New York DH Alex Rodriguez (strained right hamstring) did some light running in the outfield and went halfway around the infield twice. He described the running by saying "So far, so good." ... Yankees CF Jacoby Ellsbury (right hip) missed his sixth straight game. He also did some light running at the same time as Rodriguez. ... The Royals placed RHP Chris Young (right forearm) and LHP Kris Medlen (rotator cuff) on the 15-day disabled list. Manager Ned Yost said he does not expect either player to miss more than the 15 days. Kansas City replaced them by purchasing the contract of RHP Peter Moylan from Triple-A Omaha and recalling LHP Scott Alexander from there. ... Yost said LHP Danny Duffy will make Medlen's start Sunday against Atlanta and be restricted to about 50 pitches.


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