The Yankees became the first team in Major League history to hit three grand slams in one game, as Robinson Cano hit his in the fifth, Russell Marin hit his second of two home runs in the sixth inning and Curtis Granderson connected in the eighth, which led to their 22-8 victory of the Athletics.
Granderson should be the American League Most Valuable Player, Cano has been performing like an All-Star that he was all season but Martin has been more off-and-on.
Phil Hughes had pitched very well during his last four starts, never allowing more than two runs, but on Thursday afternoon he allowed six runs in 2.2 innings. Luckily, this did not end up ruining the Yankees chances at winning the game as the offense would explode starting in the fifth inning, and every inning after.
Martin now has four multi-homer games in 101 games with the Yankees after having only one in his 667 game stint with the Dodgers. He is a catcher that can truly perform in all aspects of the game as he is reliable behind the dish, is fast for a catcher with eight steals and his 17 homers are impressive for a catcher. He is hitting much better lately, and having hits in all but one of his last nine games, with 13 RBI, has boosted his average 17 points to .243.
For the Athletics, Rich Harden allowed six runs on 10 hits in only 4.1 innings, giving up two homers. He is a pitcher who displayed dominance at times earlier in his career but has always been plagued by injuries. The Yankees were able to take advantage of Harden, during a season where he has been struggling, and continue to rake against the bullpen especially Bruce Billings who allowed seven runs in 1.1 innings.
It is unfortunate that Phil Hughes could not continue to pitch well but the Yankees needed an offensive outburst like this one after losing the first two games the fourth place Athletics. Hughes should be able to bounce back as it seemed like he was regaining his form from the first-half of last season.
Their pitching actually under-performed the whole series as the Yankees allowed six runs in each of the previous two games. They travel to Baltimore for three games, starting Friday night, and so far they are up 9-1 in the season series. However, A.J. Burnett (4.96 ERA, 14 runs in his last three starts) will be starting tonight, which is not promising.
The Orioles are coming into this three game set having swept the Twins in Minneapolis, scoring six runs or more in three of the four games and there are no guarantees that Burnett will slow down their offense. It is possible that Burnett will pitch like he is capable of since he has “dominate” stuff, but that is impossible to predict, since he can’t handle pitching with a lead and the smallest things cause him to unravel.
The Yankees should be able to sweep the last place Orioles in the Charm City, but two out of three would be acceptable since one never knows which AJ will show up. The Orioles come into the series having won four straight after a five-game losing streak.