First Pitch: Offensive surge

NEW YORK -- Somehow, the Yankees remain in playoff contention as they hit the 120-game mark of the season.

They enter play Thursday 5.5 games behind Tampa Bay in the Wild Card race.

It's still unlikely that they leapfrog Kansas City, Cleveland, Baltimore and either Tampa or Oakland when it's all said and done.

But there may be one reason to be optimistic, and it's this: if you've paid attention over the last few days, it seems like the Yankee offense is finally coming alive.

Granted, it's an extremely small sample size, but it's also a hard one to ignore.

With Alfonso Soriano, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez looking more comfortable at the plate and Robinson Cano (4-for-4 on Wednesday) swinging well, the Yankee lineup looks much more dangerous.

On Wednesday, Cano, Rodriguez, Granderson and Rodriguez combined to reach base on 13 of 18 plate appearances, going 10-for-15 with two homers, nine RBI and nine runs scored.

Along with Tuesday's 14-7 triumph, the Yanks have scored at least 11 runs in consecutive games for just the third time since 2009. They've also banged out 31 hits over the last three games, their highest three-game total since an early April barrage against Cleveland.

Again, we're not talking about a huge sample size here. But the Yankee offense over the last two nights has looked nothing like the outfit that's produced the 23rd highest run total in the majors and hit for the 25th best average.

So you wonder: is this just a momentary flash of power by the Yanks or a sign of an offense that's finally come to life?

UP NOW: Matt Ehalt tackles Soriano's seven-RBI night against Los Angeles. Soriano incredibly has 13 RBI in his last two games. I have a blog on Ivan Nova's strong outing in the Yanks' 11-3 win and we also have a couple notes on everyone's favorite Yankee, A-Rod.

ON DECK: Mike Mazzeo and Kieran Darcy will be at the Stadium for the series finale against the Angels.

Phil Hughes (4-11, 4.99) will face lefty C.J. Wilson (12.6, 3.49). First pitch it at 1:05.

QUESTION: Do you view the last two games as a sign the Yanks' offense can break out or will the bats fall silent again?