After the major rain storm and lightning display in the Kansas City sky during Game Two of this four-game series at Kauffman Stadium, the Bronx Bombers provided their own air show in Game Three, an arsenal of pyrotechnics of the baseball kind, by sending into orbit five home runs, including three by Alex Rodriguez, in route to an 8-3 victory over the Royals.
The Yankees power display began in the top of the sixth off Royals starter Sean O’Sullivan with the score tied 1-1.
A-Rod led off the inning by hitting a long homerun (#19) into the left-centerfield seats. Then after Cano hit a hard liner to left for the first out, Jorge Posada blasted a high and deep 421ft homer (#13) over the centerfield wall. Curtis Granderson followed by going back-to-back with Posada, belting another hard-hit long homer (#11) into the upper rightfield seats to increase the Bombers lead to 4-1, and knock O’Sullivan (L,1-4), out of the game.
The Royals scored two runs, including a lead-off home run by Wilson Betemit (3-for-5), in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead to 4-3 off starter Phil Hughes (W,14-5). This would be Hughes’ last inning in this game, as he pitched okay, delivering 99 pitches, allowing three runs, on nine hits, one walk, while not striking out any Royal batters.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Mark Teixeira stroked an opposite field single through an open hole at short, the result of the shift the Royals were playing against Teix. Then Rodriguez continued the Yankees “power show”, blasting a two-run homer (#20), on a pitch that was down-and-in from pitcher Kanekoa Texeira, over the centerfield wall 419 feet from the plate, that upped the Yanks lead to 6-3.
And, as the game entered the top of the ninth, Alex Rodriguez saved the best for last. After another single by Teixeira (2-for-5), A-Rod put the final stamp of approval on this historic night by soaring his third homer (#21), high into the Kansas City sky off pitcher Greg Holland. This two-run blast was the longest of all, arcing 439 feet from Rodriguez’s bat into the left-centerfield “flowing water fountain”, capping the score at 8-3. A-Rod was (4-for-5) in this game with five RBI’s, giving him a league-leading 97 RBI’s.
For Rodriguez, this was the second time he hit three home runs in a game as a member of the New York Yankees. On April 26, 2005 against the Angels at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, A-Rod blasted three homers off starter Bartolo Colon, driving home ten runs.
Also of note in this game, every Yankee starter in the lineup got at least one hit. And, after Hughes left the game after six innings, the Yankees bullpen was once again very solid allowing no runs and only one hit over the final three innings to preserve the 8-3 victory.
So, a great win for the Yankees (72-44), who remain in first place in the AL East, two games ahead of the Rays (70-46) and six games in front of the Red Sox (67-51), as both division rivals also won their games yesterday.
Watching Alex Rodriguez hit the three homers in this game was not exactly as exciting as watching Reggie Jackson hit his three home runs in Game Six of the 1977 World Series against the L.A. Dodgers at Yankee Stadium, on three straight pitches, against three different pitchers. But this power display by A-Rod was certainly exciting and fun to watch.
Most importanly though, Rodriguez, and Posada, and Granderson, all helped the Yankees win a big ball game, in the middle of a pennant race, with their home runs. And, that is the most exciting ending to this night. A Yankees victory.
– Jimmy Curran “BY&L” – Baseball, The Yankees, and Life …