The Yankees scored 24 runs on 34 hits to win its latest weekend series, two games to one, over the Chicago White Sox. The power hitting reminded many observers at Yankee Stadium of its many powerful clubs of the past, termed the Bronx Bombers. The new ballpark, in its second season, is looked upon as a haven for homer hitters. This belief of many was confirmed this past weekend as each team blasted five home runs.
The Yankee captain, Derek Jeter, was most responsible for the 6-4 victory on Friday night. Jeter led off the Yankees half of the first with a single to left. He moved to second after Mark Teixeira walked. He scored the first Yankee run of the evening after Alex Rodriguez doubled to cut the deficit to 3-1. A single by the red-hot Robinson Cano drove in Teixeira. In the top of the fifth, with the Yankees trailing, 4-2, Jeter tied the contest with a two-run homer. The game was knotted at four when Jeter came to the plate in the seventh frame. A long triple to right scored Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner. There was no further scoring by either team.
Jeter knocked in four runs and scored a fifth. Jeter netted three of the seven hits of the Yankees. Jeter’s hits moved him to first place in career number of base hits among active players. He surpassed the previous leader Ken Griffey, Jr. Last season, Jeter passed Lou Gehrig to become the Yanks career leader in hits. He is also the franchise leader in singles, hit by pitch and at bats, and is moving up the ladder in many other career categories.
After the contest, someone in the ballpark likened Jeter to God. The enthusiastic speaker was not a teenage girl, nor a member of Yankees management, but was the skipper of the Chicago White Sox, Ozzie Guillen. The baseball veteran did not mean his words to be sacrilegious but rather as compliment to the Yankee captain.
In response to a reporter’s query of whether Guillen had previously compared Jeter to the deity, the manager said, “Yes, I did. He is God all the time. It’s fun to watch him play the game. He’s the number one ambassador in this game. The guy always has good looking women around him too. I mean, God bless him.” Of Jeter’s homer off starter Freddy Garcia, Guillen commented, “Jeter got him, but Jeter’s a professional hitter.”
The Yankees’ 12-3 win on Sunday afternoon was an old-fashioned slugfest. Despite the absence of Alex Rodriguez, resting, and Curtis Granderson, placed on the DL on Saturday the Yankee bats were extremely active on Sunday. Six Yankees, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner, had multi-hit games. The first Yankee run was scored in the second as Cano doubled to lead-off the inning and was driven in by a two-out single by Gardner. Each of the two also homered later in the game. Gardner hit a 3-3 pitch into the right field stands for his first round tripper of the year in the fourth.
He jokingly told reporters after the game, “Now I know how other guys feel when they hit them like that. That’s not my game.” The homer was Gardner’s first since June 26, 2009. The outfielder is batting an impressive .342. One who is not surprised by Gardner’s productivity is manager Joe Girardi. After the game, he observed, “I’ve always thought of him [Gardner] as an everyday player. I love what he brings to the table.” The pitchers like him as well, Sunday’s starter, Phil Hughes, stated, “He’s [Gardner’s] been great. He tracks down everything in the outfield. Every time he’s on first, he seems to steal second.”
Cano’s three run homer in the fifth was the second baseman’s fifth of the young season. Cano’s .387 batting average ranks first in the majors and he is especially hot at the plate right now. Cano has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games with an average of .455 during that period. Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer in the sixth, his second straight game with a round tripper. He also singled twice. Mark Teixeira is obviously aware of the calendar. After his usual slow start in April, Teixeira’s bat has awakened this month. During the first month of the season, Teixeira only managed to hit safely 11 times. During the first two contests in May, Teixeira has six hits, two on May 1 and four on May 2.
In addition to the team’s fine hitting, four of its five starters are doing excellently. Phil Hughes earned his third victory by hurling seven innings of shutout ball. He gave up only four hits and a walk to lower his ERA to 1.44. Manager Girardi commented, “It’s hard to say that Hughes hasn’t done everything right for us. He’s doing everything you can ask of him.”