Soriano, Yankees resume set at Fenway
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was against the trade that brought Alfonso Soriano back to the Bronx last month.
The 37-year-old outfielder has to have made Cashman reconsider his stance on the move with his recent performance. Soriano went 3-for-4, crushed another homer and drove in four runs as the Yankees took down the Boston Red Sox, 10-3, in the series opener between the AL East rivals on Friday.
Soriano and the Yankees get back to work Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.
Over the last four games, Soriano has gone deep five times and driven in a remarkable 18 runs, tying the MLB record held by Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Jim Bottomley, Tony Lazzeri and Sammy Sosa for the most RBI in a four-game span. He has six home runs in the past six games, helping the Yankees win five of those contests.
"I'm trying to enjoy my time now here with the Yankees," said Soriano, who was re-acquired in a late July trade with the Chicago Cubs. "I think it's motivation; coming back to the Yankees to try to help the team to win. That's what is most important."
New York's recent surge has put it 7 1/2 games behind Boston for first place in the division and six games behind Tampa Bay and Oakland, who are tied at the top of the wild card standings.
Soriano was not the only player for New York to go yard on Friday. Mark Reynolds, who was just signed as a free agent on Thursday, hit a home run in his first at-bat as a member of the organization. Reynolds had not played in an MLB game since Aug. 4, which was his final appearance with Cleveland before being released.
All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano is also on a hot streak. Cano registered his third consecutive game with an RBI on Friday and also extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He is hitting .353 with a .459 on base percentage in the month of August.
Meanwhile, Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has 3,995 career hits (1,278 in Japan) and will soon join Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,191) as the only members of the elite 4,000-hit club.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi will hand the ball over to the red-hot Hiroki Kuroda for the second game of the three-game set. Kuroda hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since June 30. He struck out seven and limited the Angels to three hits over eight scoreless innings on Monday in his most recent start. Kuroda has been the ace of Girardi's staff this season as he enters with an 11-7 record and a 2.33 ERA, which is the fourth-lowest in the MLB.
Boston's John Lackey will look to cool off the revived Yankees' offense. Lackey has not taken a winning decision since July 12 when he improved to 7-6. The Red Sox have lost four of his last five starts. On Sunday, Lackey surrendered four runs on seven hits over seven innings of work in a 4-3 loss at Kansas City.
The Red Sox have now lost three games in a row as their division lead over the Rays has dwindled down to just a single game.
"We're just not playing well," said David Ortiz. "We need to step up and try to win some games, you know? I guess it's just one of those funks that you walk into. We just need to get out of it."
Shane Victorino's slump continued on Friday. He has gone 0-for-13 with one walk and two strikeouts over his past three games. Dustin Pedroia did his best to lead the hosts, going 2-for-4 with a pair of runs.
Ortiz went 1-for-4 with an RBI, his 76th in 2013. His .323 batting average is the fifth best in the AL.
The Red Sox are the only team in baseball that has not experienced a losing streak longer than three games this season. They had won five of their last six games at Fenway Park before falling on Friday. The Yankees are 29-31 in away games and had lost four in a row on the road coming into the series.
Boston is 6-4 against New York this season.