The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-3, on Tuesday night in the Bronx, behind four solo home runs from the offense. It was their third win in their last four games.
With the win over the rival Rangers from the AL West, who the Yankees lost to in the playoffs in 2010, the Yankees are now 5-5 in their last 10 games, and 2.5 games (tied with the Orioles) behind the Red Sox in the AL East, and in a three-way tie atop the Wild-Card standings.
The offense was obviously led by Travis Hafner, Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix and Ichiro Suzuki since they hit the home runs to account for all of the runs that the team scored. The biggest one was essentially hit by Ichiro since he hit the walk-off homer to deep right center in the bottom of the ninth to give the Yankees the victory.
Hafner hit his twelfth homer of the campaign in the fourth inning, Gardner hit his seventh homer of the season in the fifth inning, Nix hit his second homer of the campaign in the sixth inning and Ichiro hit is fourth round-tripper of the season in the ninth. Nix’s homer was only his 10th since the end of the 2010 season.
It was the most clutch home run of the season for Ichiro. In fact, Ichiro is now on a five-game hitting streak and has hit in six of the past seven games. He is an important cog in the offense with the injuries to Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Francisco Cervelli (Kevin Youkilis will not likely come back and AROD is in the middle of controversy with Cashman and could face a 100-game suspension).
This performance by the offense was one that used to happen often the past few years where the homer was a critical aspect of many wins. If Nix and players such as Chris Stewart, David Adams and Zoilo Almonte can hit for some power that will greatly benefit the offense. Almonte has been a much needed boost to the offense since coming up from the minors. He is now hitting .438 after 16 at-bats.
Last night’s game was the 11th major league matchup between Japanese pitchers. The two pitchers are both elite as Hiroki Kuroda has an ERA 2.77 and Yu Darvish, who is in his second major league season after a stellar career pitching in Japan, has a 2.95 ERA.
In Tuesday’s game, Kuroda got the bragging rights because he only allowed two earned runs to Darvish’s three and only allowed five hits to the seven that Darvish gave up. Kuroda (7-5, 3.77 ERA) has now pitched a quality start in his last three starts while holding the opposition to two runs in each of those outings.
This blog post also comes on Derek Jeter’s 39th birthday. Jeter is currently rehabbing in Tampa. He was previously training in the Bronx and during this time I was lucky enough to see him up close before a game against the Red Sox.
When asked what he would give Jeter on his birthday Robinson Cano said, “I would say a card. He has a car, clothes, money and watches, what else can you give him?”