On a night they pummeled home plate with cleat marks after smooching it once in each the previous three games, it turned out the Yankees didn’t need more than two runs.

That’s because Ivan Nova’s second consecutive sensational start was backed by Robinson Cano’s three-run homer and Lyle Overbay’s grand slam in an 8-1 victory over the Royals Wednesday night that was witnessed by a Yankee Stadium gathering of 35,781.

After going the distance and beating the Orioles in his previous start, Nova dominated the Royals, worked out of jams in the first and fifth frames and logged eight innings. Nova allowed a run and five hits and is 4-2.

“We needed that really bad,’’ Cano said of Nova’s mound brilliance. “We know he has that kind of stuff.’’

The victory snapped a three-game slide for the Yankees who, according to a team source, “are hoping’’ to welcome back Derek Jeter from the disabled list Friday night when the hapless Twins open a three-game visit to The Bronx. Major League sources told Fox Sports.com early Thursday morning that Jeter would return this afternoon against the Royals, either as the team’s shortstop or designated hitter.

“I was throwing, just trying to do my job,’’ Nova said of the pressure he felt to halt a losing streak in which fellow starters Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia received very little support.

Cano ended a streak of 288 Yankees plate appearances without a multi-run home run. The last homer by a Yankee with a man on base was Cano’s three-run blast on July 2 in Minneapolis.

A dozen plate appearances later, Overbay slugged his fourth career grand slam and first since 2006 as a Blue Jay.

“It was the little things that set us up for the big hit,’’ said Overbay, who hit a 95 mph fastball from Wade Davis for the opposite-field homer to left that allowed the Yankees to exhale. “Those opportunities, that’s what we were lacking on. You have to trust the guys behind you.’’

Davis gave up eight runs and six hits in five innings and fell to 4-8.

With his lineup scoring a total of three runs in the previous three games, manager Joe Girardi was asked if he considered changes.

“What would you suggest?’’ Girardi asked. “We do talk about things that maybe you do a little different. Do you give a guy a day off? But this is what it is.’’

Brett Gardner walked twice, scored two runs and was hit by two pitches. The drilling in the lower right leg in the sixth inning appeared painful.

With the Yankees leading, 8-0, in the eighth inning Gardner was removed from the game with a contusion. X-rays were negative.