Yanks bash Red Sox with 5 home runs
Much of what makes the 2012 Yankees tick is the home run. They lead the majors in that category and added a lot to the total Friday night in a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox. Five of the Yankees’ runs came on balls that left the yard, and yet it was a two-out single by Jayson Nix in the sixth inning that scored the run that proved to be the winner.
The five home runs, all solo shots, raised the Yankees’ season total to 186. That puts them on a pace to smack 253 home runs, which would shatter the franchise record of 244 in 2009 and come close to challenging the major-league mark of 264 by the Mariners in 1997. The Yankees have homered in 33 of their past 37 games and 99 of their 119 games this season. In the 20 games in which the Yanks have not homered, their record is 3-17, so going deep has been essential to their winning games.
Nick Swisher led the way with two home runs, one from each side of the plate. That marks a dozen times Swish has done that in his career. Only Mark Teixeira with 13 has accomplished the feat more often. This is pretty heady stuff. Even Mickey Mantle, the Yankees’ greatest switch hitter, had only 10 such games. It’s strange for me to write “only” there because the Mick held the record for many years until Eddie Murray and Chili Davis came along. And now Tex and Swish have left them all in the dust.
Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin had back-to-back homers in the second inning. Granderson’s 31st home run of the season was his 10th off a left-handed pitcher, in this case Franklin Morales. Martin’s homer brought his batting average to .200 for the first time in six weeks, but he went 0-for-3 after that to fall to .198.
The other home run was from Derek Jeter, career No. 250, which tied the score in the fifth. It was a crucial blow because there was rain in the forecast all night, and both sides feared falling behind if the game was stopped and perhaps halted for good. It rained pretty hard for two innings with thunder and lightning all around. Then it went away. Try to figure out weather.
Swisher’s two-homer night is part of a hot stretch dating to Aug. 8 when he was moved into the 2-hole of the batting order as Granderson was slumping. Swish has responded by batting .310 with two doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI in 42 at-bats. He has bashed Red Sox pitching all year at a .448 clip.
Four of Swisher’s past six home runs and five of his past nine have given the Yankees the lead (his first-inning homer Friday night did). He has hit four home runs in the past five games and has had at least one run and one run batted in six straight games, matching a streak by Alex Rodriguez in 2008 from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4. The only Yankees player with a longer streak since 1957 was by Don Mattingly, now the Dodgers manager, who had such a streak of nine games in 1987 from July 7-18.
All the long balls backed a fine start from Phil Hughes, who gave up four runs in seven innings but none was earned. That was due to an errant throw by Hughes that extended the third inning and allowed Dustin Pedroia to give the Red Sox the momentary lead with a three-run home run.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was pleased to see Hughes make use of his changeup, a pitch he had all but abandoned in recent starts. “I wanted to give hitters a different look,” he said.