NEW YORK -- Albert Pujols isn't the only prominent American League free agent who entered Sunday's play in a home run drought. Prince Fielder ended his on Sunday when he took a CC Sabathia pitch deep in the fourth inning for his first home run since his two-homer game April 7.
Unlike Pujols, however, Fielder did a whole lot of hitting during his homerless streak.
While Fielder entered Sunday's series finale homerless in his past 71 at-bats, he batted .296 in that stretch. Amazingly, just two of his 21 hits in that stretch went for extra bases. His last nine hits before Sunday's home run were singles, dating back to April 18 at Kansas City.
"Home run are usually mistakes," Fielder said after the game. "Pitchers are good. When they don't make mistakes, you have to take what they give you."
For someone who has yet to hit .300 over a full season -- he has finished at .299 in two of his last three seasons -- Fielder is showing a surprising acumen for pure hitting. Leyland credited him to reacting to the way he's being pitched and not trying to do something more.
"I think anytime somebody hits with a lot of power up there, that's what people focus on," Leyland said. "People like home runs, and they probably forget what a real good hitter this is. It's the same with a guy like Pujols. He's not just a home run hitter. He's a real good hitter.
"It looks to me like they've just been staying away from Fielder so much, that he's taking what's there. And he's gotten a lot of big hits, huge hits, for us. That's pretty good hitting."