|You can clap for yourself when you win the game.|
Alfonso Soriano said he felt like he was back home and the Yankees fans greeted him that way when he came to bat in the 2nd inning of Friday night's series opener with the Tampa Bay Rays. Unfortunately, he went 0-5 with an RBI ground out as the Yankees and CC Sabathia got pummeled by the Tampa Bay Rays 10-6. Things were no better on Saturday when the Yankees got shut out on two hits by rookie Chris Archer.
But on Sunday those little town blues melted away. It was like old times in the Bronx. Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and even Hideki Matsui were wearing pinstripes. Jeter, playing in just his second game of the season, swung at the first pitch he saw from Rays starter Matt Moore and deposited it in the first row in right-center field for a solo home run. Soriano went 4-5 on the day, with the final hit a single up the middle that scored Brett Gardner in the bottom of the 9th to win it, 6-5.
Soriano arrived despite the protestations of GM Brian Cashman, who was against dealing a young pitcher (Corey Black) for the 37-year old. Soriano had begun to establish a legacy in the Bronx when he was dealt for Alex Rodriguez prior to the 2004 season. Had it not been for a rare meltdown by Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, Soriano would have had a toehold in Yankees history forever.
It was Soriano's 7th inning home run off of Curt Schilling that gave the Yankees a 2-1, but the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied against Rivera to win the World Series. Soriano also had the game winning single in the 12th inning of Game 5 after Scott Brosius had tied the game with a home run in the 9th.
Sunday's series finale with the Rays was a battle- twice Phil Hughes, the home run pitching machine, had Wil Myers go deep off of him to blow leads. Soriano was there to save the day though. He belted a 2-run home run in the 3rd inning( yes, Yankees right-handed hitters actually hit home runs), singled twice, earned a Gatorade shower from Brett Gardner for his 9th inning heroics.
One of the first to greet Soriano was his old double play partner Jeter. According to @YestoResearch (YES' Jeff Quagliata) it was the first time since July 17, 2003 that pair homered in the same game together as teammates.
Even though Soriano was never a Yankee in the new Yankee Stadium, he said Friday that he felt he was home again and YS was his home. Slated to wear #22, he even got Vernon Wells to give him #12 in an undisclosed transaction. Wells will wear 22 from now on.
Ichiro Suzuki also had four hits in the game to become the 6th player in MLB history with at least 50 4-hit games.