"Sometimes you don't need a homer to win a game," Robinson Cano said.
Gardner hit a three-run triple off T.J. McFarland in a four-run second inning during Wednesday's 10-7 loss to a Baltimore Orioles' split squad.
After missing most of last season because of a strained right elbow that required surgery, the speedy Gardner could become a key this season.
New York hit a team-record 245 homers last year but Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez left as free agents, and Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson will start the season on the disabled list. Just two Yankees on the projected opening-day roster, Mark Teixeira and Cano, topped 20 homers last season.
"I anticipate it's going to be different because we don't quite have the home-run hitters that we've had in the past," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "So, we're going to have to find different ways to score runs. I think when you look at our club this year, there's more speed.
"One outfielder has the potential of stealing 50, 60 bases if he stays healthy the whole year," he said of Gardner, "so I think our offense is going to be different, but I believe we're going to score runs."
Steve Pearce, bidding for a backup role with the Orioles, had two hits and three RBIs. Pearce had an RBI double off Nik Turley during a five-run first, then hit a two-run single against Cody Eppley that made it 7-0 in the second.
"He's a professional hitter," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "We liked him last year, and that's why we decided to bring him back."
Baltimore's Jake Arrieta gave up three runs, two hits and two walks in 1 2-3 innings.
"Stuff was good," Showalter said. "A little bit of command not where it's going to be."
Turley allowed five runs and three hits over one-third of an inning. In a lineup dominated by prospects, the Yankees made five errors, by Turley, shortstop Jayson Nix, third basemen Corban Joseph and Walter Ibarra, and second baseman Jose Pirela.
"It was pretty sloppy," Girardi said. "We've got a lot of young kids playing, so are you going to see that sometimes, probably."
Kevin Youkilis missed his second straight game because of a sore left side. Signed in the offseason to fill in for Rodriguez, who is not expected back until the All-Star after having left hip surgery on Jan. 16, Youkilis plans to take batting practice Thursday and could play by this weekend.
Starter Phil Hughes, who hasn't thrown for the past nine days because of a bulging disk in his upper back, will continue to workout for the next couple days in a pool.
"All I know is I'm pain free," Hughes said. "I don't want to rush it and have a recurring issue."
The Yankees have not ruled out the possibility that Hughes might not be ready for opening day.
"Is it in jeopardy, his starting? It's possible," Girardi said. "I think it's too early to tell that, though."
Closer Mariano Rivera and ace CC Sabathia are to take part in their first simulated games Thursday.
Rivera hasn't pitch in a game since tearing his ACL in his right knee last May. Sabathia is recovering from offseason elbow surgery.
"All is good," Rivera said.
NOTES: Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, a Yankees guest instructor, has arrived at camp. ... Orioles SS Ryan Flaherty went deep into hole to field Juan Rivera's grounder and then throw out the Yankees' DH at first in the second. ... New York LHP Andy Pettitte is expected to pitch in a simulated game this weekend.