In nearly a century of storied slugging, the Bronx Bombers had never put on a show quite like this. Nobody had, in fact.
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The New York Yankees became the first team in major league history to hit three grand slams in a game, with Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson connecting Thursday in a wet, wild 22-9 romp over the Oakland Athletics.
”I’m surprised it hadn’t been done before with all the great teams and great individual hitters that have come throughout the course of the game,” Granderson said.
On a dreary afternoon, some fans headed home with the Yankees trailing 7-1 after three innings and rain still falling in a game that began after an 89-minute delay.
Turns out they missed the Yankees coming home — over and over and over.
Cano began the barrage with his slam in the fifth, a clean shot into the lower deck in right field off starter Rich Harden that made it 7-6.
Martin connected in the sixth off Fautino De Los Santos (2-1), a fly that barely made it over the auxiliary scoreboard in right for a 10-7 lead.
Granderson took his turn in the eighth, launching a no-doubt drive into New York’s right-center field bullpen with two outs off Bruce Billings.
With MLB in its 136th year and approaching its 200,000th regular-season game next month, the Yankees knew it was a slammin’ day. Not until they saw a note posted on the video board about the three slams, however, did they realize exactly what they’d achieved.
”You’re not going to see it again, probably,” said captain Derek Jeter, who batted a whopping four times with the bases loaded and drove in one run. ”You can’t explain it.”
Martin homered twice and doubled, setting career highs with five hits and six RBI. Cano and Granderson each drove in five runs as the Yankees pulled off their biggest comeback win since 2006 and avoided a three-game sweep.
”Definitely cool. It was fun to be part of it,” Martin said. ”When there’s nowhere to put them, they have to throw strikes.”
”This game has been played for a long time. Pretty much everything has already happened. I’m waiting to see who hits four,” he added.
Said Granderson: ”There are so many players that have played. There’s a few times I’ve been one of a few or the first guy this season or something like that. But the fact that we as a team have done something that all the teams that have ever played this game have never done before, especially all the offenses … it kind of speaks to what this offense is.”
Billings watched Granderson’s shot sail.
”I was looking at it, hoping that it was not going to go out,” he said. ”I’m not thinking about trying to give up another grand slam.”
The 22 runs marked the most allowed by the Athletics since 1955, when they were based in Kansas City and lost 29-6 to the Chicago White Sox.
”It only counts as one, but it was definitely embarrassing,” Oakland interim manager Bob Melvin said. ”We got the lead early and just weren’t able to hold it. It just got out of hand.”
The Yankees also did something special with their gloves.
Five-time All-Star catcher Jorge Posada made his first career appearance at second base and had the final play, fielding a grounder and firing a one-hop throw that knocked over first baseman Nick Swisher and left him laughing as he caught it.
”I threw it too hard. I got super excited,” said Posada, long ago a second baseman in the minors. ”That tells you right there why they moved me behind the plate.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Posada began hounding him in the eighth inning.
”At this point it was 16-8 and I was going to put Russell at second. Jorge went and got his mitt and started telling me, ‘I’ll go to second, I’ll go to second,”’ Girardi said.
”Everything that Jorge has done for this organization, the numbers he’s put up and the year that he’s been through this year, it was just hard to say no,” he said.
Funny, the Yankees had their chances to hit even more slams.
They came to bat a startling 16 times with the bases loaded, going 6 for 13 with two walks and a sacrifice fly. Jeter grounded out twice, struck out and walked in his chances.
”I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a stat of a guy being up four times with the bases loaded,” Girardi said.
Jeter did get three hits and briefly boosted his average to .300. Quite a climb from that July day that began with him mired at .257 and ended with him getting his 3,000th career hit.
Granderson’s slam gave him 103 RBI. The Yankees had hit two slams in a game three times, but never at home. They lead the majors with eight slams this year.
The Yankees scored six times in the seventh, helped by seven walks in the inning. They added six more in the eighth, with Andruw Jones homering after Granderson’s slam.
Overall it was the Yankees’ highest-scoring game since they got 22 runs at Boston in 2000, and it tied the team record set in 1931 for most in a home game.
Cliff Pennington homered, doubled and drove in four runs for the A’s. Scott Sizemore also homered.
Yet for all the combined 36 hits and 15 walks, this day seemed to turn on something much more elementary: the weather.
Yankees fans weren’t in a forgiving mood at the outset. They booed when a battered Phil Hughes walked off in the third inning and jeered when Pennington hit reliever Cory Wade’s first pitch for a three-run homer that put the Athletics ahead 7-1.
But there was a big cheer when the sun poked through the clouds as the A’s batted in the fourth. Between innings, the stadium sound crew played ”Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles.
Moments later, the Yankees bats came out, too.
Martin began New York’s rally with a solo home run in the fourth. Cano lined his second slam of the season and sixth of his career the next inning.
Martin connected in the sixth and Granderson capped the grand outburst.
The last time the Yankees had hit two grand slams in a game was Sept. 14, 1999, when Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill did it at Toronto.
This was the seventh time the A’s franchise gave up at least two slams in a game, STATS LLC said. Detroit’s Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge did it last in 2009 and the first came in 1936, when Tony Lazzeri of the Yankees hit a pair at Philadelphia.
Boone Logan (4-2) got the win.
Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees’ lineup after missing two games with a sprained left thumb. He had two hits and scored three runs.
NOTES: Jeter lined a leadoff triple in the first and scored; he passed Rickey Henderson for 21st place on the career hits list with 3,056 and edged past Jimmie Foxx for 20th on the runs list with 1,752. … Cano singled his first time up, extending his hitting streak to 16 games. … A’s catcher Anthony Recker made his big league debut and went 0 for 4, striking out three times and drawing a walk. … The Yankees are scheduled to open a five-game, four-day series in Baltimore on Friday. A.J. Burnett (9-10, 4.96 ERA) is to oppose Baltimore’s Tommy Hunter (2-2, 4.95). … Gio Gonzalez (10-11, 3.24) is set to start Friday night for the A’s at Fenway Park. He is 2-5 with a 5.31 ERA since the All-Star break. Tim Wakefield (6-5, 4.97) will make his sixth try for his 200th career win.