TORONTO -- The early part of this second half has carried one common theme for the Yankees' offense: Brett Gardner frequently getting on base and constantly causing havoc.
The Yankees outfielder notched three three-hit games in the four-game series against the Blue Jays, and after starting the season 5-for-11 in steals, he has now stolen 12 straight bases without getting caught, which matches his career-high streak.
Manager Joe Girardi says the biggest difference is simply aggression.
"As a basestealer, you're going to get thrown out," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. There are times that everything is going to click -- the pitcher's going to be quick, the catcher makes the perfect throw, it's a perfect exchange and a perfect tag, and you're going to be out -- but that can't take away from your aggressiveness."
Gardner is one of the fastest men in baseball, and now he's playing with reckless abandon.
A prime example came on Saturday, when Gardner hit a blooper into shallow center field and took second base once he saw Rajai Davis back up to allow for one more bounce on the turf.
After going 3-for-4 on Sunday, Gardner finished the series against the 10-for-16 with five runs scored and three extra-base hits. He's still tied for the Major League lead by getting caught stealing 10 times, but most of that stems from a sloppy start on the basepaths.
Since May 20, Gardner is 21-for-25 in steals.
"I'm just trying to be aggressive and trying to get in scoring position for the guys behind me," said Gardner, batting .283 with 25 steals on the year.
"I mean, he's an exciting player," Girardi added, "and he's been getting on base and causing problems."