Soriano-led Yankees aim for 4-game sweep of Angels
The New York Yankees were looking to add a bit of an offensive boost to their injury-ravaged lineup when they acquired Alfonso Soriano in a trade three weeks ago.
He's come through in a big way over the last two nights.
Soriano tries to keep up his incredible pace on Thursday afternoon when the Yanks try to sweep a four-game series from the visiting Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The 37-year-old Soriano broke into the majors with the Yankees back in 1999 and played with the franchise through the 2003 campaign before getting dealt to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez. Following stints with the Rangers and Washington Nationals, Soriano joined the Chicago Cubs in 2007.
The Yankees swung a deal to reacquire him from the Cubs on July 26 and Soriano drove in eight runs over his first 15 games with New York before setting a new career high with six RBI in Tuesday's 14-7 victory. He homered twice in that contest, then went deep two more times in last night's 11-3 triumph while setting a new career best with seven RBI.
"You don't see those days. I have to take those days because it's not easy," said Soriano, who hit a first-inning grand slam before adding a solo shot later in the game. "Sometimes I get one RBI in one game and I got 13 in two games. I'm very excited, very happy."
Robinson Cano added four hits for New York, which has won four straight to post its longest winning streak since a season-high six-game run from July 1-6. The Yankees are five games back of a wild card spot in the AL.
Jered Weaver, who had gone 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA over his previous eight starts, lasted five innings and was tagged for nine runs on nine hits.
"You're going to have some blowup games throughout the course of the season," Weaver said. "I had one tonight. I'm pretty disappointing, especially after losing my last two here. I wanted to come out and have a good one, but that wasn't the case."
Mike Trout went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the loss, the Angels' fourth straight and eighth in 10 games. He has reached base safely in 36 straight games, tying Erick Aybar for the second-longest stretch in club history.
C.J. Wilson will be called on today for the Angels and given the task of trying to slow down Soriano, who is 2-for-5 lifetime against the hurler with a homer and two RBI.
Wilson has won four straight and eight of his past nine decisions. The lefty has a 2.89 earned run average over that span, which stretches back 11 starts and began with a win over the Yankees on June 14.
Wilson scattered two runs over seven innings at home to beat New York, improving to 2-3 lifetime versus the club with a 3.34 ERA in 24 meetings (7 starts).
The 32-year-old is coming off a win over Cleveland on Saturday, though a high pitch count forced him out of the game after 5 1/3 innings. Wilson threw 117 pitches, including 57 over the first two frames, but still allowed just two runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out six.
Wilson is 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA through 24 starts this season.
The Yankees will look for right-hander Phil Hughes to finally right the ship today as he is just 4-11 with a 4.99 ERA in 22 starts.
Hughes' struggles at home continued last Saturday as he logged 4 1/3 innings versus Detroit and yielded four runs on seven hits and no walks. He did strikeout six in the loss, but yielded a pair of homers and has not won since July 2.
The 27-year-old also saw his home line move to 1-8 with a 6.18 ERA in 12 starts this year.
"I think it's just consistency," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Hughes' struggles. "He's worked very hard in between starts and trying to fix things, but it hasn't happened on a consistent basis."
Hughes has faced the Angels eight times prior, including five starts, and is 3-2 against them but with an 8.38 ERA.
Though the Angels won two of three at home versus the Yankees in June, they have lost nine of their last 11 in the Bronx and are 6-20 in their last 26 games at Yankee Stadium, including playoffs.
The Yankees last swept a four-game set with the Angels on July 21-24, 1994 on the road. They also took all four contests of a series in New York the previous July.