Alfonso Soriano blast carries Yankees to win over Blue Jays

 

A week ago, the Yankees were riding the wave of Alfonso Soriano’s scorching bat and winning games.

Soriano’s bat has cooled off considerably but the Yankees still are winning games.

Last night, the Soriano swing from last week returned in a big way as his two-out, two-run home run lifted the Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays.

Soriano had an astounding .484 average (15-for-31) in winning AL Player of the Week honors last week. He also batted an absurd .682 (15-for-22) over a five-game stretch last week. But when he stepped in against R.A. Dickey in the eighth inning, he had not had a hit in 17 straight at-bats.

For Soriano, that last at-bat was more about getting acclimated to the hard knuckleballs from Dickey. He had plenty of positive experiences against the softer pitches from Tim Wakefield, but had just eight at-bats against Dickey, whose knuckleball is in the high-70s and reaches 80 on occasion.

“I just tried to swing at a good pitch to hit,” Soriano said. “The whole game, he [had] been throwing me knuckleballs, good ones, a lot of movement. Finally, the last one I got a good one to hit and that’s good to take the lead.”

Soriano’s opportunity came after Robinson Cano singled to right field off Dickey (9-12), who had allowed five hits and eight base runners to that point.

“As soon as Cano got the hit, this is a chance now to do something impressive because every game is very important for us. He was due,” manager Joe Girardi said. “As hot as he had been, he was due.”

Soriano’s ninth home run since rejoining the Yankees in a trade with the Cubs on July 26 lifted New York to its fourth straight win. The Yankees also have won 10 of their last 13 games and are within four games of the AL’s second wild-card spot.

Soriano’s big hit came on a night when others did some of the heavy lifting, including David Huff, who pitched five scoreless innings in relief for the victory.

“It’s awesome, unbelievable,” Huff said of Soriano. “That guy is unreal.”

The clutch home run also came on a night when Ichiro Suzuki reached 4,000 combined hits between Japan and MLB when he slapped a first-inning single into left field.

The game was stopped as the Yankees came out of the dugout to celebrate the moment and Ichiro removed his helmet and bowed to the crowd.

Ichiro became the third to reach 4,000 hits when the highest levels of Japan and the United States are considered. Pete Rose finished with 4,256 hits after he broke Ty Cobb’s record of 4,191 hits in 1985.

“It was supposed to be a number that was special to me but what happened tonight, I wasn’t expecting when my teammates came out to first base it was very special,” Ichiro said through an interpreter. “And to see the fans, I wasn’t expecting so much joy and happiness from them and that’s what made it very special tonight, not just the number. All the things that happened with it was very special.”

By getting the hit out of the way in his first at-bat, Ichiro could soak it in and then enjoy watching Soriano.

“It’s an amazing feat,” Girardi said. “Obviously it didn’t bother him. He wasn’t thinking about it because he gets it out of the way pretty quick tonight. But it’s just a testament to how hard he’s worked, how long he’s been in the game, how he stays healthy and the way he goes about his business. He’s a great player. He’s been a great player for a long time.”

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.