It’s rare that players and managers get too excited about a stat or a fact, but even the Yankees had to admit today’s three-grand-slam afternoon was pretty special.
As you know, the Yanks hit three grand slams in the same game today for the first time in baseball history. In fact, after Russell Martin hit his grand slam in the sixth, it marked just the fourth time in franchise history two Yankees hit grand slams in the same game and the first time ever at home.
“It’s pretty amazing when you look up and see the runs you have on the board and what you put up in the last four innings of the game,” Girardi said. “I know our offense is potent, but that even surprises me.”
The first came with the deficit still 7-2 off the bat of Robinson Cano. He pulled an offering from the tiring Rich Harden into the right field seats with one out in the fifth to cut the deficit to 7-6. After the Yankees stranded the bases loaded in to end the inning, Martin hit a one-out wall-scraper to right for his second home run of the game. It provided the Yankees with a 10-7 lead and they never trailed again.
He didn’t know it at the time, but Curtis Granderson went on to make history in the bottom of the eighth. He slugged the third grand slam off Bruce Billings and into the bullpen in right to make the score 21-8. The home run was Granderson’s 36th and pushed him over 100 RBI for the first time in his career.
“The fact that we as a team have done something that all the teams that have played this game have never done before, especially on the offensive side, that’s pretty neat,” Granderson said. “The guys on this team have been doing an amazing job. I think it speaks again to what this offense can do. Anyone and everyone can deliver at any time.”
Even before Granderson’s shot, Cano and Martin were only the second set of Yankees to hit grand slams in back to back innings. The others were the last set of teammates to hit them in the same game at all: Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neil, who hit theirs at Toronto on Sept. 14, 1999. The other double grand-slam games were turned in by Tony Lazzeri, who hit a pair on May 24, 1936 in Philadelphia, and Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly on June 29, 1987 in Toronto.
Ironically, both Cano and Martin batted in the seventh with the bases loaded. Cano hit a sac fly and Martin lined an RBI single to right. Those were two of 17 plate appearances the Yankees had today with the bases loaded.
• Of course, Martin played part in Yankee history. He also happened to have the best game of his career in the process.
On the day, Martin went 5 for 5 with the two home runs, a double, a walk and a career-high six RBI. The five hits were also a career high. They were the most hits by a Yankee catcher since Elston Howard went 5 for 6 on Apr. 18, 1959 at Boston. It was also just the sixth time in the live ball era that a catcher had five hits and six RBI in a single game, although Joe Mauer accomplished it on July 26 of last year.
This was also the fourth multi-homer game this season for Martin in just 101 games. Martin had just one multi-homer game in 667 games with the Dodgers.
“I feel pretty good right now,” Martin said. “I have no issues right now, which is pretty rare for this point in the season.”
• Derek Jeter saw his average climb over .300 on an infield single to shortstop in the sixth. It was the first time for Jeter since Apr. 2 — the second day of the season.
Jeter finished the game 3 for 6 with a walk and now sits at .299. He’s batting .422 in August, raising his average from .268.
He also moved further up two lists in the first. His leadoff triple moved him past Rickey Henderson and into sole possession of 21st place on the all-time hits list. He now has 3,058. Jeter later scored on a Mark Teixeira ground out and moved past Jimmy Foxx into 20th place all-time in runs scored. He finished the game with 1,753 in his career.
• Alex Rodriguez (jammed thumb) returned to the lineup for the first time since Sunday and only the second time since July 7. He went 2 for 4 with two walks and three runs scored, and picked up his first hit since July 6. He also played seven innings at third base and left only because the game was out of reach.
“The first time around there’s always a fear that you’re going to get hurt or something’s going to break,” Rodriguez said. “But once you overcome that after the first at-bat or two, I felt like a normal regular season game.”
• The Yankee offense batted around in the fifth, sixth and seventh, sending 31 men to the plate and scoring 14 runs in the process. A’s pitchers allowed 23 of 31 hitters to reach base during that span. They issued 12 walks. Seven came in the bottom of the seventh alone, including bases-loaded walks to Jeter and Teixeira.
The 13 walks issued by the A’s were the most in a nine-inning game since Sept. 1, 1995. Their relievers walked 12, the most for an A’s bullpen since 1959.
• The Yankee comeback erased a bad performance for Phil Hughes, whose four-start streak of allowing two earned runs or less was snapped. Hughes struck out five and walked none, but the A’s hit him hard when they connected. The right-hander surrendered six earned runs on seven hits and was lifted with two outs in the third.
“It was just a grind,” Hughes said. “Unfortunately, I made a lot of bad pitches. Command was my biggest issue. But it makes it easier when you score 22 runs. It helps you sleep a little easier tonight.”
Hughes’ ERA increased from 5.75 to 6.46. Facing the A’s certainly hasn’t helped. He has allowed 13 ER in 7 IP against Oakland this season.
“It was a disappointing bump in the road,” he said. “I felt like I had really gotten a little roll going. I’ll work hard to get over this one, and hopefully not face the A’s again.
• The Yankee bullpen allowed three runs in 6.1 innings of relief. Boone Logan pitched 1.1 perfect innings and struck out all four batters he faced.
• Last but not least, Jorge Posada played second base in the ninth inning. This was the first time in his major league career he played second, the position he first played in the minor leagues. Posada had not played second since 1991, when he played 64 games there for Class A Oneonta.
Posada had an assist on the last out of the game, thanks largely to Nick Swisher’s scoop of a throw in the dirt. Swisher joked about the throw. “I was thinking to myself, you were standing 15 feet from me. What are you double cro-hopping for?”
“That tells you right there why they moved me behind the plate,” Posada said.
Girardi was originally going to move Martin to second and put Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, but Posada made a deal with him with the Yankees ahead 16-8 at the time.
“He said if we get two more runs, I’m going out there. I have him badgering me. I have K-Long badgering me,” Girardi said. “But I think with everything that Jorge has done for this organization, the numbers that he’s put up and the year that he’s been through this year, it was just hard to say no.