The Yankees put on an early 4th of July fireworks display at the Stadium last night, as they avoided embarrassment of a possible sweep, by smashing the Rangers, 18-7. This “must-win” salvaged the final game of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers, and gave the Bronx Bombers much needed momentum as the Boston Red Sox are their next opponent, starting tonight [Thursday July 3th], in a big four-game Holiday weekend series at Yankee Stadium.
Maybe hearing Hank Steinbrenner’s words that the Yankee bats need to start producing some more runs was just the motivation the Yankees needed to break out of their hitting malaise. At any rate, this type of a win, right before an always important Red Sox series, was huge. Especially, even more so, since the Sox were just swept by the AL EAST leading, Tampa Bay Rays.
Jason Giambi was the hitting star for the Yankees, as he belted a grand slam [his 18th homer of the year] in the third inning; and, also, a two-RBI double in the 7th, driving home one-third of the Yankees 18 runs.
Alex Rodriguez also had a big night, going (2 for 3), including his 17th homerun, with two walks, while scoring 4 times, and driving home three runs.
Johnny Damon was (3 for 6), with three runs scored , and two RBI’s.
Bobby Abreu went (2 for 5), driving home two, and scoring three.
Robinson Cano, continued his hot hitting, going, (2 for 5), with a run scored, and a RBI, raising his batting average to .248.
Brett Gardner, playing centerfield, got his first major league hit in this game, and also, walked, drove home a run, scored two, and had a stolen base.
Sidney Ponson, released by the Rangers a few weeks ago, was the starting pitcher for the Yanks, and pitched okay for the first five innings. He looked like he was finished after he got the final out of the 5th, and I thought Joe Girardi would go to the bullpen in the next inning. But, with a 6-3 lead, Ponson took the mound to continue his start in the top of the 6th.
It was in this inning that the Rangers would put on a fireworks display of their own, as Ponson allowed two homeruns, both two-run blasts, by Milton Bradley, and Chris Davis, to give the Rangers a 7-6 lead.
The 6th inning disaster finally did end Ponson’s night, lighting up his numbers to the tune of 5 innings pitched, 9 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, and only one strikeout.
But, the Yankees “light show” was just about to begin, as the 7th inning rolled around.
The Yanks sent up 12 batters in the 7th, that produced 9 runs, and a 15-7 lead.
Bobby Abreu led off the inning with a double. Then, A-Rod walked. Both were driven home by an RBI double by Giambi, to move the Yankees back into the lead, 8-7.
Posada doubled home Giambi, plating the Yanks 9th run, and advanced to third on a single by Robinson Cano. Wilson Betemit hit a ground ball for the first out of the inning, which scored Posada to increase the Yankees lead to, 10-7.
Then, Brett Gardner got his first major league hit, driving home Cano; and, Johnny Damon, also, followed, with a RBI single, to bring the Yankees lead to: 12-7.
After Derek Jeter grounded out for the second out of the inning, Bobby Abreu, hitting for the second time in the 7th, walked, which set-up a three-run homer by Alex Rodriguez. Jason Giambi grounded out for the final out of the inning, but the damage was done. The Bronx Bombers unloaded their full arsenal, as they lit up the centerfield scoreboard for 9 runs in the bottom of the 7th, to take a 15-7 lead.
The Yankees put the final icing on this victory with three runs in the bottom of the 8th, highlighted by a two-RBI hit by Bobby Abeu [his team leading 54th and 55th RBI’s], and the 18-7 lead.
The bullpen was solid, pitching four scoreless innings. Ramirez, (2-0), the winner, pitched the 6th and the 7th; Farnsworth, the 8th; and, Hawkins closed out the game in the 9th.
So, the Yankees go into the Red Sox series with a record of: 45-40, four games behind the Sox, who, after losing five straight games, are: 50-37.
Tampa Bay is in first place in the AL EAST with a record of: 52-32 [that’s 20 games above .500]. Boston is 3.5 games out of first; and, the Yankees, are 7.5 games behind.
July 4th is George Steinbrenner’s birthday. A four-game sweep of the Red Sox is the perfect gift for our “Hall of Fame” owner. I think Hank and Hal [and all Yankee fans] would agree !!!